Armenia (MNN) — Armenia and Azerbaijan have signed a peace agreement to end their war over the Nagorno-Karabakh region. This ends six weeks of heavy fighting in the Southern Caucasus.
Armenia will essentially surrender the territory it has lost and has agreed to vacate more in the coming days. Azerbaijan had more resources behind them in this conflict, including the widespread use of drones. Read more here.
The real winner could be Russia, who convened over the peace agreement and has now sent peacekeeping troops to the disputed area, gaining a foothold in the region.
Casualties of the war
But the human cost of all this political maneuvering has been enormous. At least 2000 soldiers and civilians have been killed, with the actual number likely being much higher.
Each side has accused the other of targeting civilians, and the use of cluster bombs (explosive devices that send shrapnel flying in all directions) against civilian targets has been confirmed.
Eric Mock of Slavic Gospel Association says the outcome of the agreement is a devastating one for Armenians. “Several cities were taken back by Azerbaijan. These are cities that in the mid-90s, would have been considered an Azerbaijani territory. Armenia claimed them it began to secure the region of Nagorno Karabakh. But in the same way, people in Azerbaijan may feel that there’s still territory that has not been taken back. The tension exists on both sides from a political and military point of view.”
Many Armenians aren’t happy about ending the war and have taken to the streets to protest, urging the fighting to continue.
But Mock says the cessation of violence is good news for the people caught in the middle of it. “Even though the ceasefire may be in place, 50% of the population, as I understand it, has been displaced. That’s an estimated 72,000 people. I think a majority of them are in Armenia, so we’re trying to rush aid to them. We’ve been able to help with over 500 people and we hope to be able to help more in the days ahead.” SGA works with local churches in both Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Pray the region would see peace, and that this agreement would truly end the violence. Ask that God would help these two countries reconcile for good.
Most of all, pray that in the middle of this disaster, many people would look beyond their national identities and find hope in Christ.
The header photo is courtesy of Slavic Gospel Association on Facebook.