Sign for Nor Maraga village, whose residents are due to become refugees for second time since 1992. Photo by Albert Voskanyan

Karabakh residents continued to return to Stepanakert with more than 2,600 displaced arriving since November 14 on buses accompanied by Russian peacekeepers, the Russian defense ministry reported.

At the same time, a reverse exodus continued, with residents of a number of villages located within Soviet-era borders of Aghdam district – due to be handed over to Azerbaijan by November 20 – ordered to evacuate. These included half a dozen villages settled by Armenians displaced from northeast corner of Karabakh after 1992 and made part of the Mardakert district.

Similarly, many of the Armenians newly displaced from Shushi and Karvajar (Kelbajar) area were refugees from Baku, Sumgait, Khanlar and Shaumyan districts, expelled from Azerbaijan in 1988-92.

The International Red Cross continued to search for bodies of servicemen killed in the vicinity of Shushi and Martuni. As of November 18, the Armenian health ministry confirmed that 2,425 bodies have been collected since September 27; some 900 of them remain unidentified.