More than half of Karabakh population has fled: Armenia

By Thursday morning, "65,036 forcefully displaced persons crossed into Armenia from Nagorno-Karabakh," Armenian government spokeswoman, Nazeli Baghdasaryan, said in a statement.
Ethnic Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh sit in a truck on their way to Goris in Syunik region, Armenia. (Photo | AP)
Ethnic Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh sit in a truck on their way to Goris in Syunik region, Armenia. (Photo | AP)

ARMENIA: More than 65,000 Armenians have fled Nagorno-Karabakh for Armenia, Yerevan said Thursday, as the exodus continued from the breakaway enclave which Azerbaijan recaptured last week in a lightning offensive.

By Thursday morning, "65,036 forcefully displaced persons crossed into Armenia from Nagorno-Karabakh," Armenian government spokeswoman, Nazeli Baghdasaryan, said in a statement.

Some 120,000 ethnic Armenians were estimated to be living in the territory before Baku's offensive.

"The state is providing suitable housing to all those who do not have a predetermined place of residence," she added.

On Sunday, Azerbaijan reopened the sole road linking Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia, the Lachin corridor policed by Russian peacekeepers -- four days after Armenian separatist forces agreed to lay down arms and disband their army.

The return of the Armenian-populated separatist enclave under the control of the central government in Baku has led to a mass exodus of ethnic Armenians.

Internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh, which broke away from Baku three decades ago, was at the centre of two wars between mostly Christian Armenia and predominantly Muslim Azerbaijan.

Yerevan's attempts to absorb the sea of homeless and hungry ethnic Armenians come with officials still trying to identify the whereabouts of more than 100 people reported missing in a fuel depot blast Monday that claimed 68 lives.

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