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Armenians Forced into Mass Exodus Amidst Azerbaijani Ethnic Cleansing: Voices of Horror and Survival


Armenians Forced into Mass Exodus Amidst Azerbaijani Ethnic Cleansing: Voices of Horror and Survival

On September 26, 2023, The Armenian Report traveled from Yerevan to Kornidzor village in Armenia’s Syunik Province, where thousands of Armenians fleeing their homeland of Artsakh due to Azerbaijan’s mass ethnic cleansing were arriving.


The Armenian Report spoke with many refugees from Artsakh in the border village of Kornidzor as they crossed the border at Hakari bridge after a harsh 40-hour commute into Armenia. In the heart of a grim and rain-soaked night, families from Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) embarked on a forced mass exodus from their indigenous homeland, escaping Azerbaijani ethnic cleansing. Among them, an elderly woman recounted the horrors she faced during her forced escape, painting a haunting picture of the conditions faced by the displaced Armenian families.


"I’m not doing well at all," she said, her voice quivering with exhaustion. "I have a whole line of health complications; my diabetes has spiked, my blood pressure is through the roof, my intestines are failing," she described to The Armenian Report. Speaking from the bus from which she will travel to her temporary shelter in Armenia, she described the agonizing voyage that led her and her family to Syunik, highlighting the perilous conditions they faced along the way. Heavy rains pounded their makeshift tent, leaving them drenched and cold. The night was a struggle, with water needing to be constantly pushed off the flimsy tarp they had managed to set up. "I feel horrible that I’ve left behind my home and life," she lamented.


"In my poor health, I had managed to build a house. I had worked three jobs to build that house. After today, in my condition, do you think I can go work three jobs again and build another home? Where am I going to go?" she explained to The Armenian Report. Her story resonates with the anguish of countless others who fled their homes, leaving behind their possessions, dreams, and livelihoods. Her concerns echo through the community, where families have been uprooted, forced to abandon the lives they knew and loved on their indigenous lands.


"My family has left behind everything. Our home, our belongings, our lives. We just managed to save our lives. We saved our kids' lives," she said, her voice breaking. Amidst her despair, she also expressed deep concern for the future of her children and grandchildren. Her son, she shared, worried about his child's prospects living among Azerbaijanis. "Why would I leave him there amongst the Turks?" he asked, his fears mirroring those of many Armenian parents caught in mass ethnic cleansing and Armenophobia perpetrated by Azerbaijan.


As she looked toward an uncertain future, the woman's plea was simple: "I want nothing for myself, I really don’t want anything. I just want us to get to our homestead and take a hot shower.” In the face of adversity, the refugees from Artsakh hold on to the hope of finding warmth, safety, and the chance to rebuild what was lost. Their resilience in the wake of tragedy serves as a stark reminder of the human cost of ethnic cleansing and the urgent need to stop Azerbaijan and its allies from continuing to perpetrate hatred and aggression towards Armenians.

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