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A top Azerbaijani ecology official called the fires “acts of environmental terror.”
Alexander Nemenov / AFP

In Photos: Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh Burn Down Homes Ahead of Azerbaijan Handover

A Russia-brokered peace deal signed last week has ended six weeks of fierce fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh — but this peace hasn’t come without a price.

As part of the deal, Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh must return the Aghdam, Kalbajar and Lachin districts to Azerbaijan starting on Nov. 20, with a completion deadline of Dec. 1.

Armenians living in the Kalbajar district, which had been controlled by Armenian forces since the 1990s Nagorno-Karabakh war, are fleeing and setting fire to their homes rather than hand them over to Azerbaijan.

Though Kalbajar’s departing residents are bound for a difficult journey through the mountainous landscape that connects the region with Armenia, most chose to leave few of their belongings behind — and many set their homes on fire to make them unusable for future Azerbaijani residents.

Here are some of the images from Kalbajar:

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