Armenian Refugees from Syria Resettling in Occupied Azerbaijani Territory

A growing number of Syrian Armenians who have fled the escalating violence in their native land are resettling in the occupied territory of Azerbaijan.

Since early 2012, Armenia has been accepting Diaspora members seeking to escape Syria’s civil strife. In recent months, 29 refugee families, roughly 90 people overall, have found new homes in what Armenians call the Kashatagh district. The territory is known as Lachin internationally and in Azerbaijan, and it serves as a land bridge between the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia. The area was overrun by Armenian forces during the hot phase of the Karabakh conflict in the early 1990s, and remains in Armenian possession today.

“There are many other Syrian-Armenians who want to move here, but they still live in Yerevan trying to find work there. Many of them have contacted us to ask about moving to the district,” said Robert Matevosian, head of the de-facto “district government’s” Resettlement Department.

Matevosian added that about half of the recently arrived refugee families had received housing and a plot of land. The remainder were “on their way to getting all this,” he said.

The Armenian government is keeping a low profile when it comes to the resettlement in the occupied Azerbaijani territory, due to the unsettled nature of Karabakh’s political status. Negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan on a permanent political settlement for the territory remain stalemated. In all, Armenian forces occupy roughly 20 percent of the Azerbaijani territory, reported.

Azerbaijani officials have issued an official note of protest and expressed concerns about the resettlement in Lachin.

According to the official Armenian data, about 6,000 Syrian Armenians have arrived in Armenia since the outbreak of violence in Syria. Overall, about 100,000 ethnic Armenians were believed to be living in Syria at the start of 2012. –0-- 


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