Arayik Harutyunyan, head of the Armenian-backed government in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, said on Sunday that as many as 25,000 people were displaced by the six-week conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh have returned in recent days.
The figure marks one sixth of the 150,000 inhabitants of the disputed region, half of whom fled the fighting that erupted on September 27.
Harutyunyan met Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan for the first time since the cessation of hostilities following a peace deal brokered by Russia.
Pashinyan said his government, which supports and provides aid to the disputed region, will ensure the restoration of normal life in Karabakh, which Armenia calls Artsakh.
Planned assistance and compensation
“Our main task here is to restore normal life in Artsakh, to provide social guarantees to the families of soldiers and citizens killed, to know the fate of the missing as soon as possible, to provide social guarantees to their families, to the soldiers. disabled and citizens, as well as the implementation of socio-psychological work in general, ”said the President of Armenia.
Harutyunyan said that in the coming days, “several social programs will be implemented, in particular, financial assistance will be provided to every citizen of Artsakh”.
Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, but it has been controlled by ethnic Armenians for 30 years.
The latest conflict in the disputed region erupted in late September, leaving thousands of soldiers on both sides and civilians dead.
The warring parties, at odds over territory since before the end of the Soviet Union, finally agreed to end hostilities earlier this month as part of a deal brokered by Russia. As part of the deal, Armenia agreed to return around 15-20% of the territory captured by Azerbaijan in the recent fighting, including the historic city of Shusha.
Three territories that change hands
A week ago, Azerbaijan began to take control of the first of the three occupied territories surrounding Karabakh that were ceded.
The Azerbaijani army said on Friday it had entered Agdham district, one of three districts surrendered by Armenia.
Armenia will continue to retain control over most of Nagorno-Karabakh itself.
As a result of the peace plan, it was reported that ethnic Armenians set their homes on fire as they fled Kalbajar district.
Read more: Russia deploys peacekeepers to Nagorno-Karabakh
The ceasefire agreement was heavily criticized in Armenia. Thousands of people took to the streets of the Armenian capital of Yerevan, with some protesters making their way into a government building, occupying rooms and smashing furniture in the prime minister’s office.