Military Wiki
Nagorno-Karabakh conflict
Date1988–1994 (Nagorno-Karabakh War)
1994–present (sporadic violence, especially border clashes)
LocationSouth Caucasus



Supported by:
Syria Syrian Government
Northern Kurdistan


Supported by:
Syria Syrian Opposition
Commanders and leaders
Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Bako Sahakyan (President of NKR)
Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Movses Hakobyan (Defense Minister of NKR)
Armenia Serzh Sargsyan (President of Armenia, Commander-in-Chief)
Armenia Seyran Ohanyan (Defense Minister of Armenia)
Armenia Yuri Khatchaturov (Chief of the General Staff of Armenia)
Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev (President of Azerbaijan, Commander-in-Chief)
Azerbaijan Zakir Hasanov (Defense Minister of Azerbaijan)
Azerbaijan Najmaddin Sadigov (Chief of the General Staff of Azerbaijan)

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict refers to the ongoing military confrontations between ethnic Azeris and Armenians within the area of Nagorno-Karabakh in the Caucasus. The conflict evolved from the Nagorno-Karabakh War of 1988-1994, but tensions and skirmishes have continued in the region despite an official cease-fire.


Nagorno-Karabakh War (1988–94)

The Nagorno-Karabakh War, also known as the Artsakh Liberation War in Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, was an armed conflict that took place in the late 1980s to May 1994, in the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh in southwestern Azerbaijan, between the majority ethnic Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh backed by the Republic of Armenia, and the Republic of Azerbaijan. As the war progressed, Armenia and Azerbaijan, both former Soviet Republics, entangled themselves in a protracted, undeclared war in the mountainous heights of Karabakh as Azerbaijan attempted to curb the secessionist movement in Nagorno-Karabakh. The enclave's parliament had voted in favor of uniting itself with Armenia and a referendum, boycotted by the Azerbaijani population of Nagorno-Karabakh, was held, whereby most of the voters voted in favor of independence. The demand to unify with Armenia, which began anew in 1988, began in a relatively peaceful manner; however, in the following months, as the Soviet Union's disintegration neared, it gradually grew into an increasingly violent conflict between ethnic Armenians and ethnic Azerbaijanis, resulting in claims of ethnic cleansing by both sides.[6][7]

Inter-ethnic clashes between the two broke out shortly after the parliament of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast (NKAO) in Azerbaijan voted to unify the region with Armenia on 20 February 1988. The circumstances of the dissolution of the Soviet Union facilitated an Armenian separatist movement in Soviet Azerbaijan. The declaration of secession from Azerbaijan was the final result of a territorial conflict regarding the land.[8] As Azerbaijan declared its independence from the Soviet Union and removed the powers held by the enclave's government, the Armenian majority voted to secede from Azerbaijan and in the process proclaimed the unrecognized Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh.[9]

Full-scale fighting erupted in the late winter of 1992. International mediation by several groups including the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) failed to bring an end resolution that both sides could work with. In the spring of 1993, Armenian forces captured regions outside the enclave itself, threatening the involvement of other countries in the region.[10] By the end of the war in 1994, the Armenians were in full control of most of the enclave and also held and currently control approximately 9% of Azerbaijan's territory outside the enclave.[11] As many as 230,000 Armenians from Azerbaijan and 800,000 Azeris from Armenia and Karabakh have been displaced as a result of the conflict.[12] A Russian-brokered ceasefire was signed in May 1994 and peace talks, mediated by the OSCE Minsk Group, have been held ever since by Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Post-war violence

2008 Mardakert skirmishes

The 2008 Mardakert skirmishes began on 4 March after the 2008 Armenian election protests. It involved the heaviest fighting between ethnic Armenian[13] and Azerbaijani forces[14] over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh[14][15] since the 1994 ceasefire after the Nagorno-Karabakh War. Armenian sources accused Azerbaijan of trying to take advantage of ongoing unrest in Armenia. Azerbaijani sources blamed Armenia, claiming that the Armenian government was trying to divert attention from internal tensions in Armenia. Following the incident, on March 14 the United Nations General Assembly by a recorded vote of 39 in favour to 7 against adopted Resolution 62/243, demanding the immediate withdrawal of all Armenian forces from the "occupied territories" of Azerbaijan.[16]

2010 violence

The February 2010 Nagorno-Karabakh skirmish was a scattered exchange of gunfire that took place on February 18 on the line of contact dividing Azerbaijani and the Karabakh Armenian military forces. Azerbaijan accused the Armenian forces of firing on the Azerbaijani positions near Tap Qaraqoyunlu, Qızıloba, Qapanlı, Yusifcanlı and Cavahirli villages, as well as in uplands of Agdam Rayon with small arms fire including snipers.[17][18] As a result, three Azerbaijani soldiers were killed and one wounded.[19] The 2010 Mardakert skirmishes were a series of violations of the Nagorno-Karabakh War ceasefire. They took place across the line of contact dividing Azerbaijan and the ethnic Armenian military forces of the unrecognized but de facto independent Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. Both sides accused the other of violating the ceasefire regime. These were the worst violations of the cease fire (which has been in place since 1994) in two years and left Armenian forces with the heaviest casualties since the Mardakert skirmishes of March 2008.[20]

2011 incidents

In late April 2011, border clashes left three Nagorno-Karabakh soldiers dead,[21] while on 5 October, two Azeri and one Armenian soldier were killed.[22]

2012 border clashes

The 2012 border clashes between the armed forces of Armenia and Azerbaijan took place from late April through early June. The clashes resulted in the deaths of five Azeri and four Armenian soldiers. In all during 2012, 19 Azeri and 14 Armenian soldiers were killed.[23]

2013 border clashes

In 2013, 12 Azeri and 7 Armenian soldiers were killed in border clashes.[23]

2014 border clashes

In 2014, several border clashes erupted that had resulted in 16 fatalities on both sides by 20 June.[24]

On 2 August, Azeri authorities announced that eight of their soldiers had been killed in three days of clashes with NKO forces, the biggest single death toll for the country's military since the 1994 war.[25] NKO denied any casualties on their side, while saying the Azeris had suffered 14 dead and many more injured.[25] Local officials in Nagorno-Karabakh reported at least two Armenian military deaths in what was the largest incident in the area since 2008.[26] Five more Azeri troops were killed the following night, bringing the death toll from the August clashes to at least 15. The violence prompted Russia to issue a strong statement, warning both sides not to escalate the situation further.[27]

By 5 August, the fighting that started on 27 July had left 14 Azeri and 5 Armenian soldiers dead. Overall, 27 Azeri soldiers had died since the start of the year in border clashes.[28]

See also

  • Nagorno-Karabakh Republic


  1. "Nagorno-Karabakh After Crimea". Foreign Affairs. 3 May 2014. Retrieved 3 August 2014. 
  2. Vadim Dubnov. Как полковник Рузинский поссорил Россию и Азербайджан. RIA Novosti. 7 November 2013. Colonel Andrei Ruzinsky, commander of the Russian military base in Gyumri, Armenia: "In case the Azerbaijani government decides to restore its jurisdiction over Nagorno-Karabakh through military means, the base may engage in an armed conflict in line with Russia's agreement obligations as part of the Collective Security Treaty Organization."
  3. "‘Nagorno-Karabakh is Turkey's problem too,' says Erdoğan". Today's Zaman. 13 November 2013. Retrieved 3 August 2014. "...Erdoğan noted that Turkey's unconditional support for Azerbaijan..." 
  4. Özden Zeynep Oktav (2013). Turkey in the 21st Century: Quest for a New Foreign Policy. Ashgate Publishing. p. 126. ISBN 9781409476559. "...Turkey's support for Azerbaijan in the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh..." 
  5. Flanagan, Stephen J.; Brannen, Samuel (2008). Turkey's Shifting Dynamics: Implications for U.S.-Turkey Relations. Washington, DC: Center for Strategic and International Studies. p. 17. ISBN 9780892065363. "Turkey's border with Armenia has remained sealed since 1994, due to Turkish support for Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict." 
  6. Rieff, David (June 1997). "Without Rules or Pity". Foreign Affairs. Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved 13 February 2007. 
  7. Lieberman, Benjamin (2006). Terrible Fate: Ethnic Cleansing in the Making of Modern Europe. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee. pp. 284–292. ISBN 1-56663-646-9. 
  8. Croissant, Michael P. (1998). The Armenia-Azerbaijan Conflict: Causes and Implications. London: Praeger. ISBN 0-275-96241-5. 
  9. It should be noted that at the time of the dissolution of the USSR, the United States government recognized as legitimate the pre-Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact 1933 borders of the country (the Franklin D. Roosevelt government established diplomatic relations with the Kremlin at the end of that year). Because of this, the George H. Bush administration openly supported the secession of the Baltic SSRs, but regarded the questions related to the independence and territorial conflicts of Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and the rest of the Transcaucasus as internal Soviet affairs.
  10. Four UN Security Council resolutions, passed in 1993, called on withdrawal of Armenian forces from the regions falling outside of the borders of the former NKAO.
  11. Using numbers provided by journalist Thomas de Waal for the area of each rayon as well as the area of the Nagorno-Karabakh Oblast and the total area of Azerbaijan are (in km2): 1,936, Kelbajar; 1,835, Lachin; 802, Kubatly; 1,050, Jebrail; 707, Zangelan; 842, Aghdam; 462, Fizuli; 75, exclaves; totaling 7,709 km2 (2,976 sq mi) or 8.9%: De Waal. Black Garden, p. 286.
  12. The Central Intelligence Agency. "The CIA World Factbook: Transnational Issues in Country Profile of Azerbaijan". Retrieved 14 February 2007.  Military involvement denied by the Armenian government.
  13. "Karabakh casualty toll disputed". BBC News. 2008-03-05. Archived from the original on 9 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-05. 
  14. 14.0 14.1 "Fatal Armenian-Azeri border clash". BBC News. 2008-03-05. Archived from the original on 5 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-05. 
  15. "Armenia/Azerbaijan: Deadly Fighting Erupts In Nagorno-Karabakh". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 2008-03-04. Archived from the original on 6 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-05. 
  16. General Assembly adopts resolution reaffirming territorial integrity of Azerbaijan...
  17. "Azerbaijan announces names of soldiers killed and wounded by Armenian fire". Retrieved 2010-11-27. 
  18. "Azerbaijan: Baku Claims Three Dead in Karabakh Crossfire". Eurasianet. Retrieved 2010-11-27. 
  19. "Three Azerbaijani Soldiers Killed Near Nagorno-Karabakh". RFE/RL. Archived from the original on 27 November 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-27. 
  20. Fuller, Liz. "OSCE, EU Condemn Karabakh 'Armed Incident'." RFE/RL. June 22, 2010. Retrieved 22 June 2010.
  21. Azerbaijan goes beyond all permissible limits, two Artsakh servicemen killed
  22. Armenia, Azerbaijan Report More Deadly Skirmishes
  23. 23.0 23.1 Bloody clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia over disputed territory
  24. "Armenia Says Two Soldiers Killed In Fresh Border Skirmishes". 2014-06-20. Retrieved 2014-08-02. 
  25. 25.0 25.1 "At least eight Azerbaijani soldiers killed on border with Armenia". Retrieved 2014-08-02. 
  26. Guliyev, Emil. "Azeri troops killed in clashes with Armenia as tensions flare - Yahoo News". Retrieved 2014-08-02. 
  27. Five more killed in clashes between Azeris, ethnic Armenians (Reuters, August 2, 2014)
  28. "PUTIN MEDIATES AZERI-ARMENIAN TALKS". Retrieved 13 August 2014. 

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