In the Armenian villages along the Azerbaijani border, sporadic violence intermingles with people’s daily lives. While people here try to build a future, they are aware that their livelihoods are often at the mercy of politicians from both sides.
On 22 November, in a special operation in Tbilisi, Georgian special services liquidated an armed group which included Akhmed Chatayev, also known as ‘one-handed Akhmed’. Chatayev was considered one of the leaders of the Islamic State. During the battle with Georgian special services he refused to disarm, and committed suicide by detonating a grenade. This is, perhaps, everything that is known from official sources about the operation in the Georgian capital, which lasted for almost a day.
The new law on conscription has left many Armenian students stunned. While stressing their commitment to serving the country, many worry that in practice, it will be hard to obtain Master’s degree after three years of non-deferrable military service.
While throughout the region there are debates around compulsory military service — how it applies to students or if it should apply at all — in Azerbaijan, a different debate is raging. Many are demanding exemptions for only sons in a family, who continue the family name, while most politicians oppose the move, calling it unpatriotic.
A number of Afghans came to Azerbaijan in the early 1990s. Twenty-three years on, many have stayed, making a new life for themselves, in a foreign country. [Read more…]
An entire generation has grown up in Abkhazia with no direct experience of the 1992–1993 war. For many of these young people, a collective memory of the conflict still persists, and attitudes towards Georgia and Georgians are often extremely hostile.
A string of changes in how identity documents are issued has left residents of Abkhazia’s Gali District feeling frustrated and powerless. OC Media spoke to a number of locals, who complained that widespread corruption and discrimination makes them feel unwelcome in their homeland.
Four women and eight children arrived in Grozny on the evening of 1 September from the Iraqi city of Mosul. They were returning from Syria, where they had traveled with their husbands to join the Islamic State. Together with their relatives, OC Media’s special correspondent was waiting for them in the airport.
Barekamavan, a village on the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan, regularly comes under fire. Unfortunately for Barekamavan’s besieged residents, this is not their only problem, and with people moving away, the village faces extinction. [Read more…]
Communities on both sides of the border separating Azerbaijan and Armenia are vulnerable to shootings and landmines on a daily basis. Together with partner Humanitarian Research Public Union, Saferworld supported a photographer to travel to border communities on the Azerbaijan side to teach two villagers the basics of photography so they could raise awareness of the challenges faced by local people. A similar project was also carried out on the Armenian side of the border.