The odyssey of thousands of refugees fleeing Nagorno-Karabakh

Beatriz Arslanián

Kornidzor, Armenia, Sep 25 (EFE).- In Kornidzor, southern Armenia, there is a long line of cars with bags, blankets, fuel canisters and gas bottles tied with ropes that belong to the thousands of refugees who fled Nagorno-Karabakh after Azerbaijan forced the Karabakh forces to surrender and disarm.

“I hope that when my children grow up, they won’t remember those days. I hope the hunger they experienced doesn’t resonate with them,” says Ashot, who arrived at the camp with his family on a Lada from the town of Martuni.

Gradually, the cars move forward very slowly, freed from the huge traffic jam at the checkpoint set up by Azerbaijan on the Hakari Bridge at the Berdzor-Lachin corridor, the only link between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia.

A few kilometers away, entire families stop and descend to approach the tents set up by the Red Cross.

The Armenian government claims that 6,650 people have registered so far.

God doesn’t love us

The sudden rain annoys those waiting for their relatives on the other side of the barrier.

Nairi is turned away by a policeman as she tries to enter the refugee reception area.

She is from Shushi, the famous cultural city of Nagorno-Karabakh, occupied by Azerbaijan in the 2020 war.

Since then, she has taken refuge in Yerevan, the Armenian capital. She has come to look for her cousin Sasún’s family.

“God doesn’t love us. He has already proven it,” she says, trying to communicate with Sasún again, but without success.

She assures that outside the Karabakh capital of Stepanakert, no one has reception.

In fact, since the Azerbaijani attack a week ago, it has not been possible to communicate with the inhabitants of the border region.

Meanwhile, a woman with two girls and a baby in her arms walks through the tent’s entrance.

Behind her comes her mother, documents in hand. She approaches the registration tables and hands out the paperwork.

“Rebecca, come quickly,” she calls to her daughter, who is receiving a blanket from a Red Cross volunteer.

Her daughters accept the cookies and juice offered by another volunteer. They sit and eat, then ask for more.

Ten months ago, the Karabakhis were hit by a humanitarian blockade. In the enclave, the shops are empty, there is no food or medicine, no electricity or gas.

Hope was with “the boys”

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