By Zahra Memon
On Sunday, April 3, Azerbaijan and Armenia, neighboring countries located in the South Asian subcontinent, agreed on a cease-fire after feuding for decades. In the four days prior to the cease-fire, fighting between the two escalated, CNN reported. The Armenian separatists and Azeri defense ministry publicized the cease-fire, calling an end to the war.
However, according to CNN, after the cease-fire, the Armenian News Agency reported that Azerbaijan continued to attack the Armenians. Martakert, a region in Nagorno-Karabakh, has been the reason for dispute and is currently occupied by Armenian forces, but claimed by Azerbaijan.
This dispute has been brutal for Christian Armenians and the Muslim Azeris. Between Saturday, April 2, and Sunday, April 3, the Azeris lost 16 troop members within two days of the conflict, according to BBC. The Armenian-Azeri conflict has been the root cause of instability in Azerbaijan, which is a country known for its vast amount of oil and gas exportation. As a result of the this ongoing conflict, approximately 1 million people have been displaced and 30,000 have died in Azerbaijan, BBC reported.
Armenia lost 20 troops and were missing 26 other troops, MediaMax News reported, according to BBC.
Armenia’s main allies have primarily been Russia, while Turkey has been actively supporting Azerbaijan in the war. However, Turkey and Russia have been in a recent stalemate due to the treacherous conflicts in Syria.
The war began more than two decades ago when Soviet republics were fighting over the Nagorno-Karabakh region. BBC reported that these mountainous regions comprise 1,700 square miles of land and an adjacent territory in Azerbaijan.
In 1991, Azerbaijan gained independence from the Soviet Union after claiming sovereignty in 1988, according to CNN. The mountainous regions of Azerbaijan have been controlled by the Armenians since the 1990s. The land has been incessantly in a state of dispute because of the Armenian separatists. A cease-fire took place in 1994, but recently was broken. According to CNN, both countries blame each other. Armenia maintains that Azerbaijan provoked the fighting, but Azerbaijan believes that Armenian troops were attacking their civilians first.
According to BBC, the United States Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov have been deeply concerned about the situation in Azerbaijan and Armenia and have explicitly stated that the war should come to an end.
“We urge the sides to show restraint, avoid further escalation and strictly adhere to the cease-fire,” the U.S. State Department said. “We reiterate that there is no military solution to the conflict,” CNN reported. Additionally, the United Nations has clearly stated their support for the Azeris to keep their land while the Armenians should withdraw all their troops and weapons, according to BBC.