Armenia continuing to surrender territories to Azerbaijan? Protest in Syunik border region
Residents of Syunik, the southernmost border region of Armenia, has blocked the road near the city of Kapan demanding issues pertaining to the border with Azerbaijan be solved.
The governor of the southern region of Armenia met with the protesters on the Yerevan-Kapan highway and promised to convey their demands to the government. Melikset Poghosyan stated that he is ready to resign if they are not fulfilled.
The tension after the meeting with the governor of Syunik subsided, but he failed to convince the protesters to open the road.
The situation in Syunik region worsened after the signing of a trilateral statement on the cessation of hostilities in Karabakh. Per the truce, a “new border” with Azerbaijan emerged. In the process of delimitation and demarcation, there have been periodic incidents in the area.
Local militias and volunteers came out to defend the borders. Community leaders in Syunik region even called for the resignation of the government, which they claim is not addressing security issues. They stated that they themselves are engaged in border protection and public safety.
The residents of Syunik were additionally concerned about the recent statements by the President of Azerbaijan during the parade on the occasion of the victory in the Karabakh war. Ilham Aliyev once again announced his territorial claims to the Syunik region, Lake Sevan and even the capital of Armenia, calling them the “historic lands” of Azerbaijan.
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Why was the road near Kapan closed?
Mayor of Kapan Gevorg Parsyan believes that the safety of the city and nearby villages is under threat.
Parsyan said on the morning of December 17 that the Armenian Ministry of Defense ordered the Kapan heights be surrendered by 17:00 on December 18, as they will be transferred to the Azerbaijani side:
“Now it turns out that the enemy will come close to our borders, will be just a kilometer from the settlements,” Gevorg Parsyan told journalists.
The mayor said that the road from Kapan to four neighboring settlements: Chakaten, Shikahogh, Srashen and Nerkin Hand will be on the territory of Azerbaijan.
The solution to the problem with the road may be the installation of Russian border guards, which will guarantee at least some, but incomplete security.
The reason for all the problems in Syunik is considered the truce signed by Prime Minister of Armenia Pashinyan, although protesters admit that it does not contain a clause relating specifically to their area.