Lives on the Line in Azerbaijan
Stray too far from the Azerbaijani village of Chiraghli and you might end up in Armenian-controlled territory. The “line of control” drawn when the war over Nagorny Karabakh ended with a ceasefire in 1994, and villages close to it have had a precarious existence ever since.
Chiraghli is in the Aghdam district, three-quarters of which is in Armenian hands despite lying outside Karabakh itself. It is one of ten villages left on the Azerbaijani side, and lies just 250 metres from the nearest Armenian military positions.
Many residents have been killed or injured in the sporadic gunfire that punctuates the shaky truce, and others have simply moved out. For those who remain, it is hard to make a basic living because of the constant danger of sniper bullets, and the difficulty of getting their produce – mainly onions – to market.
The Azerbaijani authorities are now building sections of wall in places like Chiraghli to make life safer for residents. (See Azeris Wall Off Front-Line Zones.)
Pictures taken by freelance photographer Orhan Orhanov.