Burning their houses before leaving: Armenians suffer the consequences of the defeat with Azerbaijan | International

In Armenia This week the deadline for the transfer of territories in the region of Nagorno Karabaj to his sworn enemy, Azerbaijan.

It is one of the terms of the ceasefire agreement signed last week and which has angered the Armenian population. Now added to the outrage is fear of the health consequences of the war. Both countries accuse each other of having used phosphorous bombs.

This incendiary product is not prohibited in any international arms treaty, but there is a great debate in diplomatic circles about whether it should be on the list of illegal chemical weapons. First, because it causes serious injuries that are very difficult to heal and second, because it causes enormous damage to the environment.

Armen Muradyanen, rector of the Yrevan University of Medicine, told Radio France International that “phosphorus smoke immediately impacts the biosphere, forests and animals. Further, bomb fragments can scatter far away and reactivate at any time. The environment takes a long time to return to its previous state ”.

Many Nagorno Karabakh residents have started buying bottled water, fearful of finding traces of phosphorus in their kitchens. And is that once dry and in contact with air, phosphorus causes fires that cannot be put out with water.

Karen Minasyan | France Media Agency

Burn it all before you run away

Some fear the match but all fear the arrival of the Azeris. The feared neighbor to the east is due to take possession this week of the territories of the disputed Nagorno Karavaj region granted by the ceasefire agreement concluded with Armenia. Baku thus regains control of territories it lost in the early 1990s.

Before the arrival of the Azerbaijani troops, many inhabitants are abandoning and setting fire to their houses, then heading to the border with Armenia.

Charektar is one of the main inhabited areas of the Kalvajar region, which until now was part of the “protective shield” built by Armenia around the disputed Nagorno Karavaj region. More than half of the houses in the village, many modest mountain peasant huts, were burned in the last 24 hours by their owners, before the imminent arrival of the Azeris, whom the local inhabitants call “the Turks.”

Men in military uniforms, returning from the front, load whatever they can into old trucks. “If I can’t find a vehicle, I’ll burn it all down,” growls Sargis, 46, sitting outside his filthy house. Prices have skyrocketed and a vehicle is impossible to find.

Traffic is incessant towards the Armenian border town of Vardenis, through the Sodits Pass at 2,700 meters above sea level.

Trucks load the elephant-sized transformers of hydroelectric plants. A swarm of lumberjacks are busy chopping down the trees along the road to make large logs that are shipped to Armenia, where the timber is traded at good prices. Shepherds lead herds of cows and sheep, crowding the road a bit more.

About to be abandoned, the Kalvajar military base opens up to the four winds. Like ants, the soldiers still present remove the sheets from the hangar roofs, repackage crates of ammunition, the damaged 4X4 vehicles and everything that can still be collected.

On the wall, a pig’s head and two words, roughly traced in yellow paint, with a clear message for the Azerbaijani troops: “Fuck Azer!”.

Karen Minasyan | France Media Agency

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