Armenian-controlled territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh

Armenian-controlled territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh are marked yellow. Brown hatched patterned indicates the Shaumian district and the territory of the former Nagorno Karabakh autonomous region, areas considered by the NKR authorities to be part of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic but controlled by Azerbaijan.

The Armenian-controlled territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh are parts of Nagorno-Karabakh that were deliberately excluded from Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast by the Communist party of Azerbaijan in 1923, are formally part of Azerbaijan, which since the end of the Karabakh War are controlled by the military forces of the de facto Nagorno-Karabakh Republic supported by Armenia. [1][2][3][4][5]


These areas have also been referred to as:


Based on the administrative and territorial division of Azerbaijan, Armenian forces control the territory of the following districts of Azerbaijan:[9]

The total land area is 7,634 km2. The outer perimeter of these territories is a line of direct contact between the military forces of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and Azerbaijan.[11]


At the outset of the Karabakh conflict, the majority-Armenian Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast / Nagorno-Karabakh Republic was surrounded by regions with Azerbaijani and Kurdish majorities and had no land border with Armenia. During the Nagorno-Karabakh war Azerbaijan had subjected Nagorno-Karabakh to a total blockade, which resulted in famine. As reported by the Human Rights Watch, "By the winter of 1991-92, as a result of Azerbaijan's three-year economic and transport blockade, Nagorno-Karabakh was without fuel…, electricity, running water, functioning sanitation facilities, communication facilities and most consumer goods."[12] In 1992 the United States Congress added Section 907 to the Freedom Support Act of 1992, which banned direct US government support to the government of Azerbaijan. The bill namely stated:

United States assistance under this or any other Act may not be provided to the Government of Azerbaijan until the President determines that the Government of Azerbaijan is taking demonstrable steps to cease all blockades and other offensive uses of force against Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.[13]

On 24 October 2001 the Senate adopted an amendment that would provide the President with the ability to waive Section 907,[14] and he has done so since then.

During this phase of the war Azerbaijan would not agree to sign a ceasefire until after these territories passed under the Armenian control and there was a danger that Armenians would advance further to take territories of vital importance for Azerbaijan.[15][16] As described by Russian mediator Vladimir Kazimirov,

Azerbaijan for too long a time was counting on military solution of the problem… those who for more than a year (1993-1994) ignored the UN Resolutions that called for the ceasefire… were supposed to realise their direct responsibility for the consequences – for the loss of more regions and the increasing the number of refugees and IDPs.[15]

Since then, Armenians have been in control of most of the territory of the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast, with Azerbaijan controlling parts of east Martuni and east Martakert. In addition, since that time Armenians have controlled all of the territory between the former NKAO to Iran, as well as all of the territory between the former NKAO and Armenia, and some areas to the east surrounding Aghdam. Nagorno-Karabakh also claims but does not control the region known until 1992 as Shahumian, which although being majority-Armenian before 1992 was not part of the NKAO. Shahumian's Armenian population was driven out during the war, and the Armenian and Azeri forces have been separated on the northern front by the Murovdag mountain chain ever since.[17]

Since 1994, Armenia and Azerbaijan have held talks on the future of the security belt territories. The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic has not been involved in these negotiations because Azerbaijan does not recognize the existence of such parties to the conflict. The Armenian side has offered to act in accordance with the "land for status" formula (returning the territory of the security belt to the control of Azerbaijan in exchange for Azerbaijan recognising the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and giving security assurances to the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and the Lachin corridor),[18] Azerbaijan, on a formula of "land for peace" (returning the territory of the security belt back to Azerbaijan in exchange for security guarantees with Azerbaijan controlling territories of Nagorno-Karabakh). Facilitators have also offered, in particular, another "land for status" option (returning the territory of the security belt to the control of Azerbaijan in exchange for guarantees by Azerbaijan to hold at some point a referendum on the status of Nagorno-Karabakh).[19][20][21][22][23][24][25] The involved parties have failed to reach any agreement.

Legal status

Armenian historical monuments

Some Armenian sources use the term "liberated territories", emphasising Armenian historical and religious monuments in the area and the presence of an Armenian population since 350BC.

There the following cultural, historical and religious monuments of note in these territories:

  • Dadivank Monastery, (Armenian: Դադիվանք)[47] - an Armenian monastery in the Shahumian Region (former Kelbajar), built between the 9th and 13th centuries. The monastery was founded by St. Dadi, a disciple of Thaddeus the Apostle who spread Christianity in Eastern Armenia during the first century A.C. In June, 2007, the grave of St. Dadi was discovered under the holy altar of the main church.[48]
  • Tzitzernavank Monastery, (Armenian: Ծիծեռնավանք), a fifth- to sixth-century[49] Armenian church[50] and former monastery. The monastery is within five kilometers of the border of Armenia's province of Syunik. The basilica of Tzitzernavank was believed to contain relics of St. George the Dragon-Slayer. In the past, the monastery belonged to the Tatev diocese and is mentioned as a notable religious center by the 13th century historian Stepanos Orbelian and Bishop Tovma Vanandetsi (1655).
  • Handaberd Fortress, (Armenian: Հանդաբերդ): Armenian castle and fortress, built in the 11th century, that belonged to the rulers of the Kingdom of Upper Khachen and the Kingdom of Tzar.,[51]
  • Handaberd Monastery, (Armenian: Հանդաբերդ): An Armenian Monastery that belonged to the rulers of the Kingdom of Upper Khachen and the Kingdom of Tzar, built in 1276.
  • Tigranakert, (Armenian: Տիգրանակերտ) - ruins of an ancient Armenian city near the borders of NKR's Mardakert district, dating back to the Hellenistic period. It is one of several cities on the Armenian plateau named Tigranakert in honor of the Armenian king Tigranes the Great (r. 9555 B.C.).[52][53] Tigranakert was uncovered during the excavations which began in 2005.[54]


  1. Нужны ли российские миротворцы в Нагорном Карабахе (Russian)
  2. Human Rights Watch. Playing the "Communal Card". Communal Violence and Human Rights. ("By early 1992 full-scale fighting broke out between Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians and Azerbaijani authorities.") / ("...Karabakh Armenian forces -often with the support of forces from the Republic of Armenia- conducted large-scale operations...") / ("Because 1993 witnessed unrelenting Karabakh Armenian offensives against the Azerbaijani provinces surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh...") / ("Since late 1993, the conflict has also clearly become internationalized: in addition to Azerbaijani and Karabakh Armenian forces, troops from the Republic of Armenia participate on the Karabakh side in fighting inside Azerbaijan and in Nagorno-Karabakh.")
  3. Human Rights Watch. The former Soviet Union. Human Rights Developments. ("In 1992 the conflict grew far more lethal as both sides -the Azerbaijani National Army and free-lance militias fighting along with it, and ethnic Armenians and mercenaries fighting in the Popular Liberation Army of Artsakh- began...")
  4. United States Institute of Peace. Nagorno-Karabakh Searching for a Solution. Foreword. ("Nagorno-Karabakh’s armed forces have not only fortified their region, but have also occupied a large swath of surrounding Azeri territory in the hopes of linking the enclave to Armenia.")
  5. United States Institute of Peace. Sovereignty after Empire. Self-Determination Movements in the Former Soviet Union. Hopes and Disappointments: Case Studies. ("Meanwhile, the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh was gradually transforming into a full-scale war between Azeri and Karabakh irregulars, the latter receiving support from Armenia.") / ("Azerbaijan's objective advantage in terms of human and economic potential has so far been offset by the superior fighting skills and discipline of Nagorno-Karabakh's forces. After a series of offensives, retreats, and counteroffensives, Nagorno-Karabakh now controls a sizable portion of Azerbaijan proper (...), including the Lachin corridor.")
  6. Report of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs' Field Assessment Mission to the Occupied Territories of Azerbaijan Surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh
  7. Robert H. Hewsen, Armenia: A Historical Atlas. The University of Chicago Press, 2001, p. 264. ISBN 978-0-226-33228-4
  8. Thomas de Waal. Armenia’s Crisis and the Legacy of Victory ("In defiance of the fact that these regions are internationally recognised de jure parts of Azerbaijan that were never part of the original dispute over Karabakh, the radicals refer to these captured territories as “liberated” lands.")
  9. Адекватному пониманию армяно-азербайджанского конфликта мешает распространение и повторение ложной статистики (Russian)
  10. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Азербайджанская ССР - Административно-территориальное деление (in Russian). Baku: Azgoisdat (Азгоиздат). 1979.
  11. Вооруженное противостояние на Южном Кавказе (Russian)
  12. Human Rights Watch/Helsinki (1992) Bloodshed in the Caucasus: escalation of the armed conflict in Nagorno Karabakh. New York: Human Rights Watch, p. 12
  13. Freedom Support Act (1992) Section 907: Restrictions on the Assistance to Azerbaijan. Public Law 102-511, Washington DC, 24 October 1992.
  14. Public Law 107-115
  15. 1 2 Kazimirov Vladimir (2007) Есть ли выход из тупика в Карабахе? [Is there a way out from the deadlock in Karabakh?] Russia in Global Politics, no. 5, 27 Oct. 2007
  16. Patrick Wilson Gore 2008. 'Tis some poor fellow's skull: post-Soviet warfare in the southern Caucasus
  17. Приднестровье и Нагорный Карабах — два состоявшихся самодостаточных государства (Russian)
  18. Контролируемые карабахской стороной территории могут быть возвращены Азербайджану лишь в обмен на независимость НКР -дептутат (Russian)
  19. Дартмутская конференция (Russian)
  20. Ереван «сдает» Карабах и спешит в объятия НАТО (Russian)
  21. Визит действующего председателя ОБСЕ Дмитрия Рупеля (Russian)
  22. Препятствия на пути к урегулированию: взгляд из Азербайджана (Russian)
  23. Земля преткновения (Russian). Archived 25 October 2009.
  24. Переговоры по Карабаху: внимание переключается на президента Алиева (Russian)
  25. «Сатана» раскрывает «детали», а «они не нужны нам и подавно»: политики Армении и Карабаха о возможности сдачи территорий (Russian)
  26. 1 2 Декларация о провозглашении Нагорно-Карабахской Республики (Russian)
  27. 1 2 Конституция Нагорно-Карабахской республики (Russian)
  28. Т. де Ваал. Черный сад. Ни войны, ни мира. Глава 17 (Russian)
  29. Жители Нагорного Карабаха до сих пор подрываются на минах (Russian)
  30. Президент Азербайджана: мы продолжим изоляцию Армении и будем наращивать военную мощь (Russian)
  31. Резолюция СБ ООН 822 (1993) от 30 апреля 1993 годa (Russian)
  32. Резолюция СБ ООН 822 (1993) от 30 апреля 1993 годa. Retrieved on 6 January 2012.
  33. 1 2 Резолюция СБ ООН 853 (1993) от 29 июля 1993 годa (Russian)
  34. Резолюция СБ ООН 874 (1993) от 14 октября 1993 годa (Russian)
  35. 1 2 Резолюция СБ ООН 884 (1993) от 12 ноября 1993 годa (Russian)
  36. Рекомендация ПАСЕ № 1263 (1995). (15 March 1995). Retrieved on 6 January 2012.
  37. Доклад ПАСЕ № 7250 (1995). Council of Europe. Retrieved on 6 January 2012.
  38. Доклад ПАСЕ № 7260 (1995). Council of Europe. Retrieved on 6 January 2012.
  39. Резолюция ПАСЕ № 1059 (1995). Council of Europe. Retrieved on 6 January 2012.
  40. Резолюция ПАСЕ № 1119 (1997). Council of Europe. Retrieved on 6 January 2012.
  41. Доклад № 7793 (1997). Council of Europe. Retrieved on 6 January 2012.
  42. Рекомендация № 1335 (1997). (24 June 1997). Retrieved on 6 January 2012.
  43. Доклад ПАСЕ № 7837 (1997). Council of Europe. Retrieved on 6 January 2012.
  44. Рекомендация ПАСЕ № 1570 (2002) (Russian)
  45. 1 2 Резолюция ПАСЕ № 1416 (2005) (Russian)
  46. Доклад ПАСЕ № 10364 (2004) (Russian)
  47. Le Petit Futé Arménie – by Dominique Auzias, Jean-Paul Labourdette – 2009
  48. В старинном монастыре Нагорного Карабаха обнаружены мощи одного из учеников Иисуса Христа
  49. Turner, Jane (ed.). The Dictionary of Art. New York: Oxford University Press, USA, 2003, p. 425. ISBN 0-19-517068-7.
  50. Kouymjian, Dickran. "Index of Armenian Art: Armenian Architecture - Tsitsernavank". Armenian Studies Program. California State University, Fresno.
  51. Sir Henry Hoyle Howorth. History of the Mongols. Volume 3. p. 86
  52. Petrosyan, Hamlet L. "Tigranakert in Artsakh," in Tigranes the Great. Yerevan, 2010, pp. 380-87.
  53. Harutyunyan, Arpi. "Research in Ruins: Tigranakert project threatened by lack of finances." ArmeniaNow. April 11, 2008. Retrieved March 25, 2010.
  54. "Museum at Ancient Ruins of Tigranakert Opens in Nagorno-Karabakh." Asbarez. June 8, 2010. Retrieved July 1, 2010.
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