Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict draws in fighters from Mideast

Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict draws in fighters from Mideast


BEIRUT (AP) –

For the past two weeks, Raffi Ghazarian has been glued to the TV at home and at work watching news about the fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces. If it goes on, the 50-year-old Lebanese of Armenian descent says he’s ready to leave everything and volunteer to defend his ancestral land.

Some from Lebanon’s large ethnic Armenian population have already travelled to join the fight, according to members of the community, although they say the numbers are small.

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The new eruption of violence in the Caucasus region strikes close to home for Lebanon’s Armenians. Red, blue and orange Armenian flags are flown on balconies, windows and roofs of buildings in Bourj Hammoud, Beirut’s main Armenian district. Anti-Turkish graffiti in English and Armenian mark walls all over the streets.

Fighting has raged since Sept. 27 in the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh, leaving several hundred dead. The enclave lies within Azerbaijan but has been under the control of

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