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Iran Press TV

Ethnic Armenians burn houses in Karabakh before handing land to Azerbaijan

Iran Press TV

Saturday, 14 November 2020 5:55 PM

Villagers in Nagorno-Karabakh have set their houses on fire in an area that is arranged to be handed over to Azerbaijan under a ceasefire agreement between Yerevan and Baku.

Under the deal, which was brokered by Russia, Armenia should return Kalbajar, as well as the Aghdam district, to Azerbaijan by November 20 and the Lachin district by December 1.

Villagers said they "were given until midnight to leave" so that they will burn all the houses.

People in Azerbaijan, however, expressed "disappointment" at the scenes of houses in flames.

Karabakh is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, but it has been held by ethnic Armenian separatists backed by Armenia since 1992, when they broke from Azerbaijan in a war that killed some 30,000 people.

The latest fighting, the worst in decades, erupted in late September.

The Russian-brokered ceasefire came into effect this week.

The deal leaves Baku largely in control of the territory.

Leaders of the self-declared republic of Nagorno-Karabakh continue to demand independence, though.

The truce has prompted anger in Armenia. Protesters on Friday demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.

Pashinyan said earlier that agreeing to the ceasefire had been a hard decision to make, and that Yerevan agreed to it to avoid further losses in the conflict.

Meanwhile, authorities detained the former head of the Armenian National Security Service, Artur Vanetsyan, on suspicion of plotting to assassinate Pashinyan and seizing power.

Vanetsyan's lawyer, Lusine Saakyan, said he was under investigation for "complicity in the illegal acquisition, sale, storage of weapons, preparation of a coup, preparation of the murder of a state, political or public figure committed by a group of persons by prior conspiracy."

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