Ethnic Cleansing 'Happening Right Now' as Armenians Forced from Christian Homeland
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An indescribable nightmare is unfolding as thousands of Armenians are on the run following Azerbaijan's military takeover of their homeland. Armenia's prime minister has declared that ethnic cleansing is underway.
More than 120,000 Armenians live in a landlocked enclave in Azerbaijan and many fear this takeover will wipe out their Christian and ethnic history.
Officials from Armenia and Azerbaijan are set to meet today in Brussels for the first time since Azerbaijan's Muslim-majority forces seized control of the predominately Armenian-Christian territory of Nagorno-Karabakh last week.
"It was a nightmare. There are no words to describe," said a distraught resident of Nagorno-Karabakh. "The village was heavily shelled. Almost no one is left in the village. Most people have been evacuated."
Thousands of Armenians have streamed out of Nagorno-Karabakh after the Azerbaijani military took over the Armenian territory last week. (AP Photo/Vasily Krestyaninov)
The blitz attack forced nearly 14,000 refugees to cross into Armenia, with thousands more stuck in massive traffic jams at the only checkpoint crossing.
Amidst all this, a massive explosion at a fuel depot killed 20 and injured more than 300 as refugees scrambled to get gas before escaping.
Joel Veldkamp is with the human rights group Christian Solidarity International.
"Our friends there told us that people in Karabakh are deciding some of them to have the bodies of their loved ones who were killed in this war to be taken to Armenia in refrigerated cars to be buried there because if they bury them in Karabakh they won't be able to visit them ever again and their graves may be desecrated by Azerbaijani forces," Veldkamp said on the group's social media platforms.
Ethnic Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh walk along the road as they flee Nagorno-Karabakh, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023. (AP Photo/Vasily Krestyaninov)
Nagorno-Karabakh is a landlocked region between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
"This is an area of Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh, that has been contested for many years," said Dr. David Curry of Global Christian Relief. "It has historically been filled with Armenians, Armenian cultures, the Christian faith."
While it's been internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, the area has been ruled by ethnic Armenians for three decades.
Two U.S. officials traveled to the region and met with Armenia's prime minister Nikol Pashinyan on Monday. He told them ethnic cleansing is "happening right now."
"We received word yesterday from our friends in Nagorno-Karabakh that essentially deportations are beginning of the entire Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh," Veldkamp reported.
Armenians are some of the first people in the world to embrace Christianity. Now there's concern their religious and ethnic history in Nagorno-Karabakh could be wiped out.
Thousands of Armenians have fled for their lives from Nagorno-Karabakh. (Stepan Poghosyan/PHOTOLURE Photo via AP)
"The population of ethnic Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh should be able to remain in their homes in peace and dignity with respect for their rights and security, if they choose to do so," said State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller. "Those who want to leave, and return should be allowed safe passage."
CBN contributor Chuck Holton who has reported extensively from Armenia warns Azerbaijan's ambitions don't stop at Nagorno-Karabakh's borders.
"The real concern here is that Azerbaijan is not going to stop by just taking over this one exclave (Nagorno-Karabakh). They are literally talking about taking all of Armenia," Holton told CBN's Christian World News program.
Ethnic Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh sit in a truck on their way to Goris in Syunik region, Armenia, on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023. (AP Photo/Gayane Yenokyan)
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