Armenia and Azerbaijan fierce stand-off over a tiny separatist region has spilled over to the U.S. Tens of thousands of people have held demonstrations outside the Turkish Consulate in Beverly Hills denouncing Turkish involvement in the stalemate.
The demonstrators are opposed to Turkey’s involvement in trying to broker an agreement as the country has already expressed its support for Azerbaijan. Its stance on the conflict does not come as a surprise as it shares strong ethnic ties with Azerbaijan.
The demonstrations have pulled crowds of as many as 35,000 people, mostly made up of Armenian Americans pushing for a cease-fire between the two countries. As some demonstrate on the streets, others have opted to go back home and fight on the front while others resort to sending aid.
Russia has already been pulled into the conflict even as it continues to push for a cease-fire. The country has been accused of supplying weapons that have been used to escalate the conflict. The two countries have so far failed to adhere to the terms of the cease-fire opting to blame each other on the shelling of civilian areas.
The Armenia- Azerbaijan conflict is fuelled by a dispute over who should be the rightful owner of the sparest region Nagorno-Karabakh. The disputed region is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan. However, it is populated by ethnic Armenians.
Tensions between the two countries are at an all-time high with hostilities in the disputed region fiercest since the 1994 truce. The conflict first erupted in when the two countries were part of the Soviet Union.
When the Soviet Union crumbled, Nagorno-Karabakh ended up becoming part of Azerbaijan. However, it maintained its autonomous status as it was mostly made up of Armenians. A push by Nagorno-Karabakh to break away in 1991 resulted in violence with Azerbaijan standing its ground.
While violence has flared up periodically since the 1994 ceasefire, it is only in the recent past that it has escalated into a full-blown war pitting the two countries. In a four day war in 2016, hundreds of people lost their lives.