Armenian villagers in Nagorno-Karabakh set fire to their homes on Saturday before fleeing to Armenia on Saturday, even as part of the deal sees parts of the region being handed over to Azerbaijan.
Residents of Azerbaijan’s Kalbazar district, which for decades had been controlled by ethnic Armenians, launched a public transport this week after Azerbaijan announced on Sunday it had regained control.
“Children in Armenia are crying and want to go home, it’s a tragedy,” an obscure resident of Kalbazar told Al Jazeera.
Fighting between the Azerbaijani army and the ethnic Armenian army began in late September and lasted for six weeks. Former Soviet rivals agreed earlier this week to halt hostilities following a major advance by Azerbaijan’s military.
A key part of the Russia-broker peace deal includes the return of Armenia to Kolbazar, as well as Aghadam district by November 20 and Lachin district by December 1, which had been in Armenian hands since a devastating war in the 1990s.
‘Burn Their Home’
In the village of Shereta – on the border of the neighboring district of Martkart, which will be under Armenian control – at least six houses caught fire on Saturday morning due to gray smoke rising over the valley.
“This is my house, I can’t leave it to the Turks,” Armenians often call Azerbaijanis, a resident said, leaving a burning wooden deck and shrimp in a completely empty room.
“Everyone is burning down their houses today. We were allowed to leave until midnight,” he said.
On Friday, at least 10 houses in and around Charector burned down.
Al Jazeera’s Hoda Abdel-Hamid reports from Armenia’s Wardenis that power lines are also being cut.
“The other few have a great idea of loss. They are cutting wood and taking what is left and will cross the Armenian border to join their families, ”he added.
“They are desperately afraid of what might happen next.”
In Azerbaijan, meanwhile, people have expressed “frustration” at the sight of houses being set on fire on a piece of land.
“According to the United Nations, Azerbaijanis say that this country is their right … There is frustration and anger in one scene in Azerbaijan over these scenes. [burning homes] They are watching, “Al Jazeera’s Osama bin Javaid reported from the capital, Baku.
“They are saying that the Armenians are vandalizing something that was not the first of them,” he added.
Azerbaijan and Armenia exchanged the bodies of soldiers killed in clashes around the town of Shusha on Saturday, Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry said.
“As part of this humanitarian operation, the bodies of the dead members of the Armenian Armed Forces have been collected and handed over to the Armenian side.” “Also, within the framework of this move, the bodies of six soldiers of the Azerbaijani army.”
Armenia announced on Saturday that 2,331 army members had been killed in the clashes, forcing thousands to flee their homes.
“To date, our forensic service has examined the bodies of 2,331 servicemen, including anonymous ones,” Arina Nikogosyan, a spokeswoman for the Armenian Ministry of Health, wrote on Facebook.
Under a ceasefire agreement signed by the leaders of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia, Russian military officials said a mission with about 2,000 troops would set up 1,166 observation posts along the mountainous Nagrono-Karabakh and Lachin corridors.
On Saturday, Russian military helicopters evacuated a convoy of peacekeepers from the Armenian military base of Irbuni in Nagorno-Karabakh.
The peacekeepers traveled in a column that included armored personnel carriers and other military vehicles.
Russian peacekeepers have set up a total of 10 observation posts in the region and have taken control of the Lachin Corridor, which connects the mountainous region with Armenia.
Peacekeepers have been tasked with monitoring Truss violations, ensuring transport safety and stopping any crimes against civilians.