Status: 26.09.2023, 06:35 a.m.
By: Nail Akkoyun
A devastating explosion at a fuel depot in Nagorno-Karabakh claims hundreds of victims. The exact cause of the accident is initially unclear.
- Nagorno-Karabakh disaster: hundreds injured after explosion
- Conflict between two ex-Soviet republics: Humanitarian situation in Nagorno-Karabakh alarming
- This news ticker on the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh is continuously updated
Update from September 26, 6:21 a.m.: Thousands of refugees from Nagorno-Karabakh are now arriving in Armenia. 6650 people have already entered the country, the Armenian government said. AFP journalists saw groups of refugees at a humanitarian aid centre in a theatre building in Goris, where they wanted to register for onward transport and accommodation.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev assured the Armenian residents of Nagorno-Karabakh the "guarantee" of their rights during a meeting with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Nagorno-Karabakh belongs to Azerbaijan under international law, but the area is predominantly inhabited by Armenians. Erdogan and Aliyev are now celebrating a victory in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Disaster in conflict region: Hundreds injured after explosion in Nagorno-Karabakh
First reported on September 25: Stepanakert – In the embattled conflict region of Nagorno-Karabakh in the South Caucasus, there have been hundreds of victims as a result of the explosion of a fuel depot. The office of the human rights commissioner of the internationally unrecognized republic spoke on Monday evening of at least 200 injured and an unknown number of dead not far from the regional capital Stepanakert. It was initially unclear what triggered the catastrophe in the Armenian-majority region, which was attacked and defeated by Azerbaijan last week.
Photos on social networks showed large flames. Politician Metakse Akopyan said that at the time of the accident, many people were queuing for gasoline at the camp because they wanted to flee from the Azerbaijanis to Armenia in cars.
The region's human rights office appealed to the international community: there is an urgent need to fly out seriously injured people in particular for treatment. "Nagorno-Karabakh's medical capacity is not sufficient to save people's lives," the message said on X (formerly Twitter).
Smoke rises after an explosion at a tank farm near Stepanakert in Nagorno-Karabakh. © dpa/Siranush Sargsyan/AP
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Nagorno-Karabakh conflict: Explosion could further worsen humanitarian situation
The humanitarian situation in Nagorno-Karabakh, which has long been contested between the two hostile ex-Soviet republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan, is already catastrophic. For months, Azerbaijanis have been blocking the only Armenian access road, which is why food, medicine and gasoline are in short supply in the region.
Last Tuesday (19 September), authoritarian-led Azerbaijan launched a military operation to seize Nagorno-Karabakh. Only a day later, the defeated Karabakh Armenians surrendered. According to Armenian sources, more than 200 people died during the short fighting, and more than 400 others were injured. The tens of thousands of Armenian civilians in the region now fear being displaced or oppressed by the new Azerbaijani rulers. (nak/dpa)