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PHOTOS, VIDEO: Epress.am Visits Armenian Border Villages Under Fire

The Epress.am team since August 1 has been visiting the border villages of Ijevan and Noyemberyan in Tavush region. Arriving at Ijevan, we found out that early in the morning of August 1 the border village of Berkaber was under fire, suffering material losses. It's not often that Yerevan-based news media mention Berkaber. Reporting on the gunfire, news media often report on the communities in the Berd region; meanwhile, we were told that gunfire was a regular occurrence also in Berkaber — simply that this time it was more intense and lasted longer. We were in Berkaber in about 40 minutes.


According to official data, Berkaber has only 530 residents; there's no kindergarten; the school has 48 students; and the village is not set up for natural gas. 


When they're not shooting, the residents are busy raising livestock, farming, and sometimes catching fish from Joghaz Lake, which is near the village. 


Entering Berkaber, we stopped the car at the top of the village, near the monuments commemorating killed Karabakh War and WWII veterans from Berkaber, and walked to the center of the village. On the road, we met a few residents, who were surprised, seeing unfamiliar faces. There were several men gathered at the center of the village, among them was village mayor Artur Madatyan. 


Berkaber village administration building (below).


In front of the village administration building is the Berkaber Historical Ethnographic Museum (below), which was closed when we were there. 


The village mayor didn't advise us to walk in the village in a group, saying that it might be dangerous and the gunfire might resume. Nevertheless, we were accompanied to a few houses that were hit, where we filmed and spoke with residents. Locals weren't panic-stricken; they were calmly walking around the village. 

Speaking to journalists, Berkaber residents repeated the view, which we often hear in border areas, that gunfire and war are beneficial for neither Azerbaijani nor Armenian villages. 


Light rays seen through a roof damaged by shelling (below).


The gathering place next to the village store (below).


When a few hours later we returned to the car, we noticed an inscription on the rear window: "Berkaber is under threat. Who knows where Berkaber is? [Armenian President] S. Sargsyan knows."


In front of the car was written: "Aren't you afraid? Flee!"

Speaking about the situation in the border areas in the video below (in Armenian only) are journalists Gagik Aghbalyan, Armen Melikbekyan, and Yuri Manvelyan.