The early April burst of fighting offered a stark reminder of the unfinished businesses surrounding the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. As this photo essay highlights, many civilians who endured the hot phase of the conflict, lasting from 1988-1994, have not been able to escape a sense of loss.
When the deadliest fighting in decades broke out in Nagorno-Karabakh in early April, Armenians, Azerbaijanis, and the rest of the world struggled to figure out what was going on. Did Azerbaijan, as it claimed, really seize villages and strategic heights? Were there really hundreds of casualties on each side? How did the fighting start?
For several days in early April, Azerbaijani villages near the frontline with Nagorno-Karabakh were hit by shells during the escalated fighting between Azerbaijani troops and combined forces of Armenia and separatist Nagorno-Karabakh.
Officials with Azerbaijan said more than 162 homes were damaged or destroyed during the shelling in the frontline villages of the Tartar region.
A tenuous ceasefire may still be holding in Nagorno-Karabakh, but civilians living in the conflict zone remain traumatized, with many being forced to relive painful decades-old memories of loss and displacement.
Azerbaijan and Armenian-backed separatists in its breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh say they have reached a cease-fire to halt the deadliest flare-up over that mountainous South Caucasus enclave in decades.
A noted Western expert on the Caucasus says tensions between Azerbaijanis and Armenians over the region of Nagorno-Karabakh make their dispute one of the most menacing unresolved conflicts from the time the Soviet Union was breaking up in the early 1990s.
Azerbaijan is a major energy exporter. It is also one of the most oil-dependent economies in Eurasia and has been hit hard by lower oil prices. If the current fiscal trends persist, regional stability is likely to come under growing threat.