Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has raised his nation’s flag over the capital city of a former breakaway region in a ceremony reaffirming Baku’s control over it.
The Azerbaijani leader delivered a speech and raised the flag over the city, which is known as Khankendi by Azerbaijan and Stepanakert by Armenians, the presidential office said Sunday.
The Karabakh region, which was previously known as Nagorno-Karabakh and is known to Armenians as Artsakh, is internationally recognized as Azerbaijani territory, but became a breakaway state under the control of ethnic Armenian forces in 1994 following a six-year conflict.
A subsequent war in 2020 returned control of much of the area to Azerbaijan, until a lightning offensive last month forced separatists to relinquish the rest of the region.
In a 24-hour campaign that began on Sept. 19, the Azerbaijani army routed the area’s undermanned and outgunned ethnic Armenian forces, forcing them to capitulate.
The majority of the area’s ethnic Armenian population later fled the region, fearing reprisals or losing the freedom to practice their religion and customs.