For both Azerbaijani and Armenian peace activists, the resumption of fighting over breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh last week meant a severe test of their stated commitment to peaceful conflict resolution. Now, with calls for retribution running strong on both sides, many question whether the differences between the two countries can ever be bridged.
The deaths of scores of civilians and soldiers in the April 2-5 violence have made persisting with calls for dialogue nearly mission impossible, they say.
Within Armenia, outrage runs particularly strong over the alleged slaying of three civilians in the Karabakhi town of Talish, unconfirmed claims of alleged atrocities against Karabakhi fighters and the supposed beheadings of three Armenian soldiers. The Azerbaijani government has denied the allegations and laid some of its own against the Armenian army.
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Marianna Grigoryan is a freelance reporter based in Armenia and editor of MediaLab.am. Durna Safarova is a freelance journalist who covers Azerbaijan.