Azerbaijan agrees to extend deadline for Armenian forces to leave ceded territory

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By Anelise Borges  & Mark Armstrong  with AP
Azerbaijan agrees to extend deadline for Armenian forces to leave ceded territory
Copyright  Sergei Grits/Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Azerbaijan has agreed to extend a deadline for Armenian forces to pull out of the Kalbacar district of Nagorno-Karabakh until November 25.

Kalbacar, known as Karvachar to Armenians, was ceded to Azerbaijan as part of a peace agreement that ended a six-week war.

The original deadline was Sunday, November 15. The timetable for withdrawal from the Aghdam and Lachin districts is unchanged.

All three districts have been held by Armenian separatists since a war that ended in 1994.

A city in limbo

Some pockets of territory in Nagorno-Karabakh have already been handed over to Azerbaijan, leading some Armenians to experience what Azeris endured 30 years ago.

Armenians in other places are having to live with uncertainty, including in Stepanakert.

Euronews correspondent Anelise Borges travelled to the city, known as Khankendi to Azeris.

It hasn't been handed over to Azerbaijan, but many of its 55,000 citizens fled as the fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh got closer.

However, some have decided to stay.

"Where else would I be?" said one woman, "I'm in my home. Nobody can tell me anything."

Last week the Armenian government said it had no other option but to sign the Moscow-brokered ceasefire deal, citing concerns over its ability to hold any territory if the fighting continued.

The new accord includes the deployment of 2,000 Russian peacekeepers in the region.

The Kremlin said Vladimir Putin has also asked Azerbaijan to protect Christian shrines under their control where there is a majority Muslim population.

On Saturday night residents in the Armenian capital, Yerevan, lit candles on Freedom Square in memory of their troops killed in Nagorno-Karabakh.

The country says it lost 2,317 soldiers in the clashes with Azerbaijan, but despite that, there are Armenian soldiers who say they should not have given up.

"We were going to win... We could have won," insisted Sergeant Levon Gevorgyan. "We just needed some support or help. People from this small town were fighting against Azerbaijan, Turkey... terrorists from different countries.”

The guns have gone silent, but some people in the region asking for how long?