Azerbaijan and Armenia Close to a Significant Ceasefire Deal

Azerbaijan and Armenia are nearing what appears to be a meaningful ceasefire agreement that will settle the decades long conflict between the two countries over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh and its surrounding regions which have been occupied by Armenia since 1992, according to some sources.

The treaty will order Armenia to cede a large part of territory while placing a Turkish and Russian peacekeeping mission in the area.

On Sunday, Azerbaijan authorities revealed that the they had taken control over Shusha, Nagorno-Karabakh’s second-largest city, a claim that was rejected by Armenia.

The fast progress of the Azerbaijani forces on the ground had pushed Armenia to consider the Russian mediation plan, which also has the support of Turkey and will stop the conflict.

According to the draft agreement, Armenia will immediately withdraw from five out of seven occupied raions (a type of administrative unit of several post-Soviet states) surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh, once both parties agree to the conditions of the deal.

Under the terms of the ceasefire, Yerevan will withdraw from the remaining two raions in 15 days. The draft agreement does not require Baku to leave its recently captured territories.

Both sides will possibly agree to the establishment of two corridors, which is considered as a very significant move.

One road leading from Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh would initially ensure Yerevan’s access to the region. Armenia, in return, will allow the creation of a second corridor which would connect the Azerbaijan territory of Nakhcivan to Baku.

The Turkish and Russian peacekeeping forces would then be deployed to uphold the ceasefire.

Tensions between both sides heated up in July 2020.

On 27 September 2020, Armenian troops shelled civilian areas of Azerbaijan outside of the conflict zone, which prompted Azerbaijan to counterattack in order to stop the offensive.

As of 30 September 2020, the Armenian shelling of civilian areas has proceeded and resulted in the death of 14 civilians, including two school children.

Armenia’s armed forces have attacked strategic sites on Azerbaijan territory, including the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, commonly called the BTC Pipeline.

In addition, the Armenian army has shelled civilian towns as well, including Ganja, where civilians have been killed.