On 20 February 1988, the Soviet of the Peoples Deputies of the Nagorno Karabakh Autonomous region put forth a petition to the Soviets of the Azerbaijan SSR and the Armenian SSR to transfer Karabakh from Azerbaijan to Armenia. While the petition was not granted, many regard this day as the beginning of the present day Azerbaijan-Armenian conflict.

In December 1989 the Parliament of Armenia decided to annex Nagorno-Karabakh, in gross violation of recognised international law. Armenia then began to gradually bring arms across to the annexed area, set up a military bridgehead in Azerbaijani sovereign territory, and shipped vast amounts of armaments into Azerbaijan.

Full scale hostilities erupted in 1991 – 1992, culminating in the massacre of Khojaly, a strategically located Azerbaijani town in the region, where hundreds of Azerbaijani men, women and children died at the hands of Armenian troops. The Armenian military aggression spread beyond the administrative boundaries of the Nagorno Karabakh Autonomous region and between the years 1992 – 1994, seven surrounding districts of Azerbaijan were also invaded.

As a result of Armenian expansionism and agression nearly 20,000 have died, 50,000 were wounded or maimed, and 900 settlements were looted and burnt. Furthermore, 1 million refugees have been driven from Karabakh which represents 1/8 of the entire Azerbaijan population.