FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Dozens of faithful gathered in downtown Fresno on Wednesday night to pray for Artsakh and Armenians on the other side of the world.
Those who gathered inside the First Armenian Presbyterian Church in downtown Fresno stood in solidarity with Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh, home to about 120,000 ethnic Armenians.
Nagorno-Karabakh is a mountainous enclave formally considered part of Azerbaijan.
Last Tuesday, tensions hit a breaking point when Azerbaijan targeted the Armenians in that region with deadly force.
Now, thousands are fleeing, fearing ethnic cleansing.
If we don't save the Armenians, who will? If we don't save the Armenians, who will?" asked Nanor Balabanian.
"We're crying out for God to protect the people who are being forced to leave their historic lands. We're praying for Armenia to be able to host them," said Rev. Greg Haroutunian with First Armenian Presbyterian Church.
The Armenian foreign ministry reports more than 13,500 people have arrived in the country from Nagorno-Karabakh.
Thousands more are expected, as hundreds are missing and hundreds are dead after a violent invasion of the region by Azerbaijan.
"Artsakh was blockaded for nine months, and so they're coming out in a state of deprivation and desperation," said Rev. Haroutunian.
Armenians in the Central Valley and across the U.S. are doing all they can to help the humanitarian efforts as people work to start over in a new home.