The deadline for Armenia to return Lachin to Azerbaijan after 28 years of occupation will end on Monday midnight.
In line with the cease-fire agreement signed between the countries, Armenia, which previously evacuated Kalbajar and Aghdam, has to return Lachin to Azerbaijan until 12:00 a.m. local time (GMT2000).
It is also the last day for the Armenian population, who were illegally settled there, to leave the region.
On May 18, 1992, Armenian forces occupied Lachin after Khankendi and Shusha.
Before the occupation, more than 65,000 Azerbaijani people were living in Lachin, which has a city center, a town and 125 villages. There was no Armenian population in Lachin before the occupation.
Relations between the former Soviet republics of Azerbaijan and Armenia have been tense since 1991 when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, also known as Upper Karabakh, a territory recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.
New clashes erupted on Sept. 27 and the Armenian army continued attacks on civilians and Azerbaijani forces, even violating multiple humanitarian cease-fire agreements for 44 days.
Baku liberated several cities and nearly 300 settlements and villages from the Armenian occupation during this time.
On Nov. 10, the two countries signed a Russia-brokered agreement to end fighting and work toward a comprehensive resolution.
While the truce is seen as a victory for Azerbaijan, and a defeat for Armenia, the latter’s armed forces left Aghdam on Nov. 20 and Kalbajar on Nov. 25 as part of the deal.
* Writing by Gozde Bayar
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