Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Nagorno-Karabakh Control Map & Timeline: Artsakh Withdrawals - December 1, 2020

There are newer versions of this map available. To see them, view all Nagorno-Karabakh articles on PolGeoNow.

This update on the (approximate) final results of the 2020 Azerbaijan-Armenia war is free for all readers.

Nagorno-Karabakh control map, showing territorial claims and control after the Azerbaijan-Armenia war, including the self-proclaimed Republic of Artsakh. Updated to December 1, 2020, at the approximate time of completion of all Artsakh/Armenian withdrawals promised under the 2020 peace agreement. Colorblind accessible.
Map of current territorial control. By Evan Centanni and Djordje Djukic, starting from this map by
Bourrichon and Lesqual. License: CC BY-SA
Timeline by Djordje Djukic

Artsakh/Armenian Forces Make Promised Withdrawals

Map of territorial change in Nagorno-Karabakh before and after the 2020 war between Azerbaijan and the Armenia-backed, self-proclaimed Republic of Artsakh. Updated to December 1, 2020, the date of approximate completion of the Artsakh/Armenia withdrawals from areas outside the NKAO. Colorblind accessible.
Click to enlarge: Map of territorial changes during and after the war
(For credit and license see main map above)

Three weeks after the peace deal that brought an end to the 2020 war between Azerbaijan and the Armenia-backed, self-proclaimed Republic of Artsakh, the latter side has completed the additional withdrawals it promised in the deal.

Though no official map has yet been released of the new lines of control, PolGeoNow has estimated their course based on news reporting and a comparison between information reported by various other online mapping projects.

The main thing that has changed since the end of fighting is that Artsakh's forces, and presumably any forces from Armenia proper that were with them, have withdrawn from all areas outside the former boundaries of the Soviet-era Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast (NKAO), leaving the self-proclaimed republic only in control of Nagorno-Karabakh proper, minus some areas lost to Azerbaijan in the recent war. These non-NKAO areas previously controlled by Artsakh were among the most hotly contested by Azerbajian over the last three decades, based on the fact that they were not even part of the Soviet subdivision that Artsakh claimed to be heir to.

Meanwhile, the official status of the Nagorno-Karabakh region and the self-proclaimed Republic of Artsakh have not yet been resolved, and are planned to be addressed in further peace talks between Azerbaijan and Armenia.


Map Uncertainty

Even the exact areas from which Artsakh forces have withdrawn are a matter of some uncertainty, since the peace deal text released at the time of the ceasefire seems only to be an outline, not providing enough detail to address certain geographical questions. Namely:

  1. The text says that Artsakh will withdrawn from Kalbajar District, but all secondary sources seem to agree that this applies only to the part of that Azerbaijani district outside of the former NKAO boundaries (the two officially overlap).
  2. The narrow strip of Artsakh/Armenian-controlled territory along the southern border of Armenia proper is widely assumed to have been transferred to Azerbaijan along with Lachin District, even though most of it is not officially part of Lachin District and not otherwise mentioned in the agreement text.
  3. An area within the southern part of the former NKAO, between Lachin and Hadrut, is reportedly now under Azerbaijani control (or due to come under it) despite not having been reported captured during the war. Other conflict tracking projects differ on whether this was for some reason included in the post-ceasefire withdrawals or whether it was actually captured during the war but not reported at the time. Though none of these sources should be considered authoritative, two of those with the best track record for accuracy (ISW News and Suriyak) are depicting it as a post-ceasefire withdrawal area, and we have followed that interpretation in our map.

The precise location of the front lines at the time of the ceasefire, which determine what additional areas are to remain under Azerbaijani control, are also not known for certain, especially the Murovdagh Mountain area in the north which was claimed captured by Azerbaijan near the beginning of the fighting, and is now often assumed to remain under that country's control, though this has never been convincingly confirmed.

Because of all these uncertainties, the maps presented here should be treated as tentative, approximate depictions of the outcome. With time, official maps and more detailed descriptions of the control lines will hopefully become available, and if there are differences, we plan to report on them in a future map article.


Flag of the self-proclaimed Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) Claimed Country Name:  
• Artsakh (English, Armenian)
Alternate Short Name:
• Nagorno-Karabakh (English)
• Lerrnayin Gharabagh (Armenian)
Full Declared Name:
• Republic of Artsakh (English)
• Artsakhi Hanrapetut’yun (Armenian)
Alternate Full Name:
• Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (English)
• Lernayin Gharabaghi Hanrapetut'yun (Armenian)
Capital: Stepanakert
Status According to Azerbaijan: Armenia-occupied area of Azerbaijan

Timeline of Events

The following is a timeline of territorial control and other key military and political events in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict since our previous report of November 10, 2020.

Note: Although Armenia's and Artsakh's militaries are organizationally separate forces, they have a history of working closely together in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. News sources rarely distinguish between the two organizations, with the term "Armenian forces" referring to either or both of them interchangeably.

November 13-14, 2020
Ahead of the transfer of Kalbajar District from Artsakh to Azerbaijan under the terms of the ceasefire agreement, culturally-Armenian people living there burnt their homes and fled to Armenia in fears of Azerbaijani retaliation.

November 15, 2020
The Azerbaijani military entered and assumed control of Agdam District after Artsakh forces withdrew. Armenians in this district too burnt their homes and fled before the Azerbaijani forces arrived.

November 16, 2020
Russian peacekeeping forces set up seven temporary observation posts in the so-called Lachin Corridor, which connects Armenia with Nagorno-Karabakh proper, to ensure the safe passage of their forces to the Artsakh-controlled parts of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Flag of the Republic of Azerbaijan Country Short Name:  
• Azerbaijan (English)
• Azərbaycan (Azerbaijani)
Full Official Name:
• Republic of Azerbaijan (English)
• Azərbaycan Respublikası (Azerbaijani)
Capital: Baku
November 17, 2020
Turkey’s parliament voted to grant Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a one-year mandate to deploy peacekeepers to Azerbaijan to monitor the cease-fire agreement. While Russia is an ally of Armenia, Turkey is a close ally of Azerbaijan, but has generally good relations with Russia.

November 18, 2020
Armenian authorities confirmed that 2,425 Artsakh soldiers, 1,712 of which had been identified, and 54 Armenian civilians had been killed in the war. However, on October 25, one doctor in Stepanakert had already put the civilian death toll at between 300 and 400. Several hundred Artsakh soldiers remained missing
Azerbaijan confirmed that 94 of its civilians were killed, and would later reveal that it had lost 2,783 soldiers, with 100 still missing. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) also reported 541 Syrian fighters killed while fighting for Azerbaijan in the war.

Flag of the Republic of Armenia Country Short Name:  
• Armenia (English)
• Hayastan (Armenian)
Full Official Name:
• Republic of Armenia (English)
• Hayastani Hanrapetut'yun (Armenian)
Capital: Yerevan
November 23, 2020
A landmine explosion killed an Azerbaijani military officer and wounded one Russian peacekeeper and four Artsakh emergency workers while they were searching for missing soldiers.

November 25, 2020
The Azerbaijani military assumed control of Kalbajar District, after having allowed Artsakh forces a 10-day extension from their original withdrawal deadline of November 15.

November 28, 2020
A landmine explosion in the Fuzuli region killed four people and wounded one.

December 1, 2020
The Azerbaijani army entered the Lachin region, completing the takeover of all territories that had been held by Artsakh forces outside of the Nagorno-Karabakh region since the 1990s. The Lachin Corridor remained under the control of Russian peacekeeping forces to ensure civilian traffic between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.

Following the Armenia/Azerbaijan/Artsakh dispute? View all Nagorno-Karabakh articles on PolGeoNow.

Graphics of the flags of Azerbaijan, Armenia, and the self-proclaimed Republic of Artsakh are in the public domain, and sourced from Wikimedia Commons.