On April 23, 1919 the National Council of Karabagh met again in Shusha and rejected again Azerbaijan's claim of sovereignty, insisting on their right of self-determination.
After this, a local Azerbaijani detachment encircled the Armenian quarters of Shusha, demanding the inhabitants to surrender fortress.
However, a new wave of violence then swept through neighbouring Armenian-populated villages: in mid-June Azeri mounted "irregulars", about 2,000 strong, attacked, looted and burnt a large Armenian village, Khaibalikend, just outside Shusha, and approximately 600 Armenians lay dead.
The seventh Congress of the Armenians of Karabagh was convened in Shusha on August 13, 1919.
(...) We didn't see anyone in the streets or on the mountain.
Only downtown, in the market-square there were a lot of people, but there wasn't any Armenian among them, they were all Muslims." On January 21, 1936, in the Moscow Kremlin, during the reception of the delegation from the Azerbaijan SSR, Sergo Ordzhonikidze remembers his visit to destroyed Shusha: "Even today I remember what I saw in Shusha in 1920, with horror.
"As planned, the Varanda militia entered Shushi on the evening of March 22, supposedly to receive its pay and to felicitate Governor-General Sultanov on the occasion of Novruz Bairam.
That same night, about 100 armed men led by Nerses Azbekian slipped into the city to disarm the Azerbaijani garrison in the Armenian quarter. The Varanda militiamen spent most of the night eating and drinking and were late in taking up their assigned positions, whereas Azbekian’s detachment, failing to link up with the militia, began firing on the Azerbaijani fort from afar, awakening the troops and sending them scurrying to arms.
Shots were fired, but when the British mediated, Armenians agreed to surrender to them.
On the 4 and 5 June 1919, armed clashes occurred in Shusha between the two communities and Sultanov began a blockade of the town's Armenian quarters.
American nurses working in Shusha for Near East Relief wrote of a massacre "by Tartars of 700 of the Christian inhabitants of the town".
A cease-fire was quickly organised after the Armenian side agreed to Sultanov's condition that members of the Armenian National Council leave the town.
The event took place between 22 and 26 March 1920, and had as its background a conflict over competing claims of ownership of the region by Armenia and Azerbaijan.