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Azerbaijan: Can a Water Reservoir Help Resolve the Karabakh Conflict?

Workers from Armenia arrive for their shift at a mine run by Base Metals near the Sarsang water reservoir in Nagorno Karabakh in July 2007. Built in 1976 on the Tartar River, the reservoir, situated within Karabakh, holds 560 million cubic meters of water. (Photo: Justyna Mielnikiewicz)

Water, or more accurately access to water, is just another weapon in the nearly 30-year conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the Nagorno Karabakh territory.
 
When a 1994 ceasefire brought an end to active fighting between Azerbaijan, Armenia and ethnic Armenian separatists over Karabakh, Azerbaijan lost not only territory, but also access to the 560-million-cubic-meter Sarsang Reservoir.
 
Built in 1976 on the Tartar River, the reservoir, situated within Karabakh, used to provide drinking and irrigation water not only to the remote mountainous region itself, but also to six surrounding regions now occupied by Armenian and separatist forces. Among them is the mostly Azerbaijani-controlled region of Tartar, a land of rolling hills situated on the line of contact between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces.  
 

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Islam Shikhali and Durna Safarova are freelance journalists who cover Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan: Can a Water Reservoir Help Resolve the Karabakh Conflict?

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