In Nagorno-Karabakh, a village split in two by a ceasefire struggles to get by

TAGHAVARD, Azerbaijan (Reuters) – Ethnic Armenian farmer Lenser Gabrielyan seems with sorrow at his land in the village of Taghavard, now cut off from him and his household under the phrases of a peace deal which finished past year’s war in the South Caucasus enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Regional resident Lenser Gabrielyan, 65, stands on the ruins of his farm that was destroyed by shelling around the village of Taghavard in the region of Nagorno-Karabakh, January 16, 2021. REUTERS/Artem Mikryukov

Inside of weeks of the conflict’s outbreak in September, navy forces from Azerbaijan had entered Gabrielyan’s picturesque mountain settlement and built significant territorial gains.

A Russia-brokered ceasefire past November cemented Azeri improvements in and all-around Nagorno-Karabakh, which is internationally recognised as a element of Azerbaijan but experienced been managed by ethnic Armenians given that the early 1990s, next the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The accord break up Taghavard, which stretches for 3 kilometres along an unpaved street in direction of a mountain assortment and which experienced a pre-war populace of around a thousand ethnic Armenians.

It also remaining Gabrielyan, who has lived there due to the fact his start, with his property on 1 aspect of a new border and his farmland on the other.

“Now we have almost nothing to do,” lamented the 65-yr-previous, as he walked near a barn that made use of to property livestock, but whose roof experienced considering the fact that collapsed below shelling.

“I used to farm. But pretty much all the land was left less than Azerbaijani regulate… No tractor is remaining here, all the machines is in the arms of the Azeri side.”

Azeri forces took regulate of the upper western conclusion of the settlement. Those ethnic Armenians who did not flee now dwell in the east, guarded by ethnic Armenian army units.

Gabrielyan’s household, together with his ten grandchildren, stayed. But like other family members, they are now struggling to get by as fields in which livestock utilised to graze and a close by forest, in which they employed to chop firewood, are less than Azeri management.

In advance of the war, his household stored sheep and pigs. Most of them were being missing when the village turned a fight discipline and Gabrielyan says his family will run out of firewood in a thirty day period.

“I really don’t know what to do,” he reported. “Everything is in ruins.”

Before the war, residents also loved working water to their homes from wells found in the upper element of the village. That accessibility has now been misplaced.

An option drinking water supply – a pipe positioned numerous hundred metres away from properties is now the only possibility. A Reuters reporter watched lately as citizens introduced several plastic bottles and metal cans of water loaded on to two donkeys back again household. The journey took them all-around 30 minutes.


Gabrielyan’s daughter-in-legislation, Minara, cried as she showed pics of her brother, who was killed in combat on the same night time when the peace deal was agreed.

She states she is scared to are living in their household, which is only hundreds metres away from Azeri outposts, which are noticeable on sunny days.

“We really do not know now what it is – war or peace? We cannot go out freely or rest calmly at night time. We wake up from every single noise since we are afraid,” she explained.

A Reuters reporter observed an Azerbaijani soldier on guard on a hillside overlooking the village, just several dozen metres absent from ethnic Armenian army positions.

Lenser Gabrielyan picks up fragments of exploded shells when strolling in a close by discipline, however criss-crossed with trenches, and states it worries him that his grandchildren have to reside so shut to a hostile army.

“We’re keeping in this article,” he said. “(But) I never know what will happen. It is dangerous”.

Reporting by Artem Mikryukov in Taghavard and Nvard Hovhannisyan in Yerevan. Creating by Maria Tsvetkova Modifying by Andrew Osborn and Alexandra Hudson

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