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Displaced Karabakh Villagers Will Return Home Only if Authorities Do: Azatutyun.am

Residents of the village of Talish in Nagorno Karabakh's northeastern Martakert region, who've been displaced as a result of the intense fighting that broke out along the line of contact with Azerbaijan in the beginning of April, say they will only return to their native village if local authorities do. 

Marine Sahakyan, who was forced to flee her home with her small child and take refuge in a shelter in capital Stepanakert, told RFE/RL's Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) that she was even willing to give her house to the families of government officials.
“A few days ago the president came to visit the displaced villagers. There was a man with him – a senior government official – who told us that we shouldn't have fled our homes and that we ought to go back to Talish. So I replied very politely that they should come pick us up with their nice cars – and bring their families, too – and we'll all go back to live in Talish together. I even offered my house to them, saying I'd go live in a barn.”

Despite claims by Armenian and Karabakh government officials that the Armenian side did not lose any areas of strategic or tactical importance in the four-day war, NKR authorities have been building new homes for displaced Talish villagers in Alashan, Shushi, and other villages of Karabakh. At the same time, authorities insist that these will only be temporary shelters and that returning the residents to Talish is a priority. 

The shelter in Alashan will be ready in the coming days; however, residents say they do not intend to accept the housing offer, claiming that the village lacks any decent living conditions. “There's no kindergarten, no school, no hospital, no store. How should we live there? How can 4-7-year-old kids live there? Would the Government raise a child in such conditions?” resident Armenuhi Bayunts said.

25-year-old Ashkhen Khachatryan has moved to Stepanakert with her mother and her sister and took refuge in one of the shelters. The young woman has already found a job in the capital and says her family is not moving to Alashan either. “I've heard that it's a desolated place. I don't think we'll move there. Why should we when there are no jobs, nothing there?”