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Spotlight Article

Shusha, Azerbaijan: 20 Years of Occupation

May 07, 2012

Twenty years ago, Azeri and Armenian forces were locked in battle over the Nagorno-Karabakh region. One decisive battle of that war was fought over the town of Shusha, located just over 3 miles away from the NK capital of Stepanakert. Though Shusha was historically Azerbaijani territory and has a long, rich history of Azerbaijani culture, Armenian forces siezed the town and claimed it for Armenia. Thousands of Azeris were killed, wounded, or displaced from their homes, and thousands of years of history and culture has been held hostage ever since.

At dawn on May 8, 1992, Armenian forces stormed the strategically important town of Shusha.  They attacked from three sides, trapping Azeri military units and civilians on their hilltop. For hours the Armenians shelled the town, killing and wounding thousands of men, women, and children.  After capturing the town, many Armenians came to loot the city. Marauders and vandals burnt much of the city to the ground.  Many Azeris were in a state of affliction and disbelief due to the loss: the town had been the birthplace for dozens of famous Azeri composers, poets and musicians. Armenian troops have occupied the town ever since.

Following the Armenian capture of Shusha in 1992, the ethnic Azeri population of the town fled and the present population consists of roughly 3,000 Armenians, mainly refugees from other parts of Azerbaijan and some immigrants from Armenia and the Diaspora. As a result of the war, there are no Azeris living in the Shusha region today.  Currently, more than 15 thousand inhabitants of Shusha are placed in different sanatoria, boarding-houses, camps and hostels in Baku and the other 59 regions of Azerbaijan.

The city has become one of the central items involved in the negotiating process in peace talks since the war ended in 1994.

Click here to learn more about the occupation of Shusha

Tell your Congressional Representatives about Shusha

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