Turkey, Russia, & the Next Phase of the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict

Following the outbreak of the most deadly fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh in decades and a subsequent comprehensive cease-fire agreement, a new phase of the conflict has begun. Russia and Turkey are certain to play a more direct role, and the complex relationship between Moscow and Ankara will prove instrumental in shaping the trajectory of the conflict moving forward.

In this context, the United States should carefully balance these two players in an effort to prevent a return to hostilities while safeguarding and advancing its own interests in the strategic Caucasus theater.

The New Reality in Nagorno-Karabakh

In late September, the long-simmering conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh exploded into all-out war, with the fighting reaching levels not seen since the initial conflict over the breakaway territory from 1988 to 1994. Azerbaijani forces launched a major offensive that led to the capture of significant territory in and around Nagorno-Karabakh. Nearly 5,000 people have been killed and more than 90,000 have been displaced. The fall of the strategic town of Shusha, just a few kilometers from the capital of Stepanakert, in early November proved to be a major turning point in the war, indicating to Armenia that the entire territory could soon be lost.

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Πηγή: cgpolicy.org

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