In Armenia, ghost towns and grieving families along border with Azerbaijan

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In Armenia, intense fighting and clashes took place on the border with Azerbaijan, causing 2500 people to flee from the provinces of Gegharkunik and Syunik. Armenia says at least of its 135 soldiers were killed this week's clashes. Most of the evacuees have found refuge in the town of Martuni.

Sotk, a village in Armenia, has become a ghost town surrounded by artillery fire. People are rushing to grab whatever they have left. Most of the village's inhabitants have found refuge in the town of Martuni, 50 kilometres away. One of the safe spaces is an evangelist church where many children have just spent the night hiding from heavy shelling.

"I was closing my door to leave the village and then about 10 metres away, a bomb exploded. It moved the car but the children were inside it. When they fired, it was an inferno, and it is going to have long term effects on the mental health of the children", says Minas Zaduryan, previously an inhabitant of Sotk.

Iraye Navasartov is the mother of a missing soldier. "Soldiers told me he was wounded. Sorry, that he was dead. But he's not yet listed on the record of dead soldiers. Now we dont know what to do, or who to contact", she says.

The soldier's father has called on the international community for help: "Do you remember during the 2020 conflict, only the UN was able to put a stop to all this? They can stop this, can't they? If they don't, who will?"

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Artmotion S.Africa

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