Armenia: Destination Karabakh for Armenian-Syrian Refugees?
As reported earlier by EurasiaNet.org, the arrival in Armenia of Armenian-Syrian refugees is creating some friction. Now, some politicians from both Armenia proper and Nagorno-Karabakh are floating a controversial remedy; encouraging those fleeing the Syrian violence to settle in the breakaway republic.
Since the 1988-1994 conflict that resulted in the expulsion of the territory’s Azeris, Nagorno-Karabakh has experienced a steady decline of its Armenian population. To halt the demographic trend, the region has hosted a mass wedding, and, recently, authorities mulled offering convicts a fresh start there.
The idea of Armenian-Syrians resettling in Karabakh has irked the Azerbaijani government, which still is struggling to regain the territory. Officials in Baku have asked international negotiators mediating the Karabakh conflict to exert influence on Yerevan to abandon the idea.
Meanwhile, a large American organization, the Armenian General Benevolent Union, announced that it had set aside $1 million as an emergency fund for Syrian-Armenians – for both those who seek to flee the violence and those who choose to remain in Syria.