Argam Hovsepyan

Syunik and Gegharkunik Villages Face Difficult Winter and Newly Established Azerbaijani Military Posts

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YEREVAN — The forthcoming winter for a number of villages of Syunik and Gegharkunik provinces of Armenia promises to be a difficult one due to the sudden losses of land and placement of Azerbaijani military posts in their proximity in the aftermath of the 2020 Artsakh war. The uncertainties and difficulties of daily life are already causing emigration.

In the village of Aravus in Syunik, for example, the villagers complain that the government has neither provided them with wheat nor fuel. Former village head Argam Hovsepyan confirmed this and related that while he was the village head, he had applied to the government to obtain these supplies free of charge since their lands had come under the control of the Azerbaijanis, creating difficult economic circumstances for the villagers.

He said, “A French foundation provided each family with 300 kilograms of wheat. Nothing else has been given so far. When I was the administrative head, I had said that the people are not able to live since our lands which we plowed and sowed have remained under the control of the enemy. This is not living. I don’t know how they are going to get through the winter.” Furthermore, he explained that due to the lack of pastureland, people are selling their animals at incomparably low prices compared to market value.

It is the lack of wheat and diesel fuel which is the main problem, but he said that the people need everything. There is also the question of security, he explained. One of the villagers two days ago moved to Goris with his children due to the situation.

Hovsepyan said that at present the new mayor is from Tegh village, and objecting to this, exclaimed, “In this state of war, the administrative leader must be from the village, a resident of Aravus, who will be here day and night. He must sleep and awaken together with our people…He won’t be here on Saturday and Sunday. It’s possible he will come one or two days a week, show up, and leave.”

A similar situation exists in several villages of Gegharkunik Province. Some days ago we visited the village of Nerkin Shorzha in this area. It was practically empty. There were only one or two houses where there were people and they were cattle keepers from Vardenis who were keeping their animals here.

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The village is only 1-2 kilometers from the Azerbaijani military posts. The only village herdsman we encountered said, “This is not living. Excuse me, but I do not wish to talk. What can I say? You have seen everything with your own eyes.”

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