Azerbaijan, the Nagorno-Karabach War: Faces of Death
The Nagorno-Karabakh War between the majority ethnic Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh, with the backing of the Republic of Armenia, and the Republic of Azerbaijan started Inter-ethnic fighting in both former Soviet republics in 1988.
Full-scale fighting erupted in the winter of 1992, first in Nagorno-Karabach, an enclave in Azerbaidzjan, itself. But in 1993, Armenian forces captured regions outside the enclave and by the time the Russians brokered a cease-fire in 1994, the Armenians were in control of the enclave but also held almost 10% of Azerbaijan’s territory outside the enclave.
Some 20,000 people perished in the conflict. 230,000 Armenians from Azerbaijan and 800,000 Azeris from Armenia and Karabakh were forced to flee to the Azeri republic, with 7 million inhabitants. They camp in schools and hospitals, in former kolchoze buildings and in trains. Some of them managed to take along portraits of their loved ones, killed during the war. Others come to the graveyard once a week or once a month, where they can still see their beloved faces on the graves.