FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) – A medical mission including doctors from Fresno will make an annual trip to the country of Armenia to offer humanitarian care to people in need.
The mission comes at a time of crisis as violence has escalated between Armenia and its neighbor to the east Azerbaijan.
The pictures tell the story of a region in crisis, the aftermath of this week’s deadly military assault on Nagorno Karabakh – a small region between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
While the land is internationally considered part of Azerbaijan, it’s home to 120,000 Armenians. Azerbaijan shelling military and civilian targets killing dozens in violation of a 2020 peace agreement.
“Armenia and Armenians lived in that region for thousands of years,” said Fresno’s Honorary Consul of the Republic of Armenia in Fresno, Berj Apkarian.
As Apkarian prepares to lead his eleventh medical mission of local doctors to Armenia, he watches with concern as the violence near Armenia’s border ramps up again.
Little can be done, as the only road linking Armenia to Nagorno Karabakh has been blocked for months by Azeri troops.
“The situation is very grave right now and unfortunately we are once again being subjected to a second genocide,” Apkarian said.
The international community is taking notice. The United Nations Security Council held a hearing on the crisis calling for a peace, and a bi-partisan as a U.S. congressional delegation may soon travel to Armenia.
“A delegation to Armenia would shed greater light on why this is important and so critical 1034 that Azerbaijan keep their word,” said Congressman Jim Costa.
Congressman Costa, a member of the Congressional Armenian Caucus, is calling for hearings on the crisis and is urging President Biden and the UN to establish a peacekeeping mission to Armenia.
“This behavior of the Azerbaijani stops period, this is about good and evil,” said Congressman Costa.
There was a meeting between Azerbaijan and the Armenian lead government in Nagorno Karabakh, but no specific results have been reported.
The medical mission from Fresno leaves this week.