Nagorno-Karabakh (MNN) — Last week, devastating conflict broke out between the countries of Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Southern Caucasus. This weekend, missiles struck Azerbaijan’s second-largest city, Ganja, injuring dozens.
Eric Mock of Slavic Gospel Association describes the battle taking place over Nagorno-Karabakh, a small piece of land between the two countries. “Since July, there’s been a substantial uptick in conflict. Now, in the last week or so, there’s been horrendous shelling and aerial bombardment of villages within this region.”
“It’s terrible right now. Children are dying, women are dying, civilians are dying.”
Fighting began early last week and hundreds have been killed, many of them civilians.
Many fear this conflict will draw in many other players in the international community. Armenia has strong ties to Russia, and Azerbaijan to Turkey. Turkey has even been accused of shooting down an Armenian jet, though they have denied the charge.
Turkey, of course, has very poor relations with Armenia, with the Armenian genocide looming large just over a century ago.
Mock explains the root cause of the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict: “Armenia is predominantly a Christian nation where Azerbaijan is a predominantly Muslim nation. And so there are not only religious distinctions but political distinctions and historical distinctions.”
Mock says Armenia and Azerbaijan also fought over Nagorno-Karabakh between 1988 and 1994 as the Soviet Union was breaking apart. This region is ethnically Armenian and governed by ethnic Armenians. Officially, though, the land belongs to Azerbaijan.
Working in the war zone
SGA works with local churches located directly in the war zone. Through the Christ over COVID program, they already worked with these churches to provide food.
Now, they are helping those caught in the middle of the war. Mock says, “Through this ministry, we’ve been able to equip them to bring groceries and the gospel to over 300 families. We just released funds again to that region to reach another 350 families, as well as releasing funds through Azerbaijan, for them to minister to refugees from the fighting.”
Pray for civilians caught in the middle of this violence. Many Christians have become trapped in the war zone. Additionally, Churches in Azerbaijan were already persecuted, living in a Muslim-majority country. Now, a wave of patriotism is sweeping through the country, and Christians can be seen as identifying with Armenians.
Pray also that the national leaders involved in this conflict will relent, work out a peace agreement, and stop the violence.
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The header photo shows a school destroyed by shelling in the war zone last week. (Header photo courtesy of SGA)