Armenian fighters at Kataro church last month. Image courtesy of Angelika Zakaryan, CivilNet

In what became first major violation of the November 9 cease-fire agreement, on December 11 and 12 Turkish-backed Azerbaijani forces moved to capture the villages of Hin Tagher and Khtsaberd, the only two villages in Karabakh’s southern Hadrut district that remained under Armenian control. CivilNet correspondent filed a video report from the area last month.

According to reports from Karabakh, the villages had no Russian peacekeeping presence, but peacekeepers arrived on location following the fighting, in which Hin Tagher was captured and Khtsaberd surrounded. In its daily bulletin, the Russian defense ministry reported that “one incident of the violation of cease-fire occurred on December 11 in Hadrut district.”

The Russian Defense Ministry also reported on continuing return of civilians to Karabakh, estimating that over 37,000 people returned from Republic of Armenia since November 14. In the same period, more than 10,000 Armenians became displaced after the handover of Aghdam, Kelbajar and Lachin districts to Azerbaijani control under the terms of Russian-brokered cease-fire. The total number of Armenians whose homes have been captured as a result of the war is estimated at 30,000.