Thousands Of Ethnic Armenians Flee Karabakh

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Thousands of ethnic Armenians fled the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh on Monday, queuing up for fuel and jamming the road to Armenia after their decades-old Separatist State was defeated by Azerbaijan in a lightning military operation.

The leadership of the 120,000 Armenians who call Karabakh home said that they did not want to live as part of Azerbaijan and that they would leave for Armenia because they feared persecution and ethnic cleansing.

In the Karabakh Capital, known as Stepanakert by Armenia and Khankendi by Azerbaijan, crowds of people were loading belongings into buses and trucks as they left for Armenia.

Refugees who reached Armenia said they believed the history of their breakaway State was finished.

No one is going back that’s it,” Anna Agopyan, who reached Goris, a border town in Armenia, said.

“The topic of Karabakh is over now for good, I think.”

Srbuhi, a mother of three who reached Armenia, shed tears as she held her young daughter.

“I left everything there,” she said.

The Armenian Government, making preparations for thousands of refugees, said that as of 5 a.m. (0100 GMT) on Monday, more than 2,900 people from Nagorno-Karabakh had crossed into Armenia.

The ethnic Armenian leadership said it would remain in place until all those who wanted to leave what they call Artsakh were able to go.

Meanwhile, they urged residents to hold back from crowding the roads out, to allow the evacuation of the injured.

The Armenians of Karabakh, a territory internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan, were forced into a ceasefire last week after a 24-hour military operation by the much larger Azerbaijani military.

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