Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflictHistory & current phase
By the statement of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia, and the President of the Russian Federation signed on November 10, 2020, a complete cessation of fire and all military operations have been announced. On November 20, 2020, the Aghdam region has been returned to the Republic of Azerbaijan. The Republic of Armenia returned the Kalbajar region to the Republic of Azerbaijan by November 25, 2020, and the Lachin region by December 1, 2020. The Lachin corridor (5 km wide), which will provide a link between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia and will not touch Shusha city, remains under the Russian peacekeeping contingent's control. Internally displaced persons and refugees shall return to the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding areas under the supervision of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The Republic of Armenia guarantees the security of transport links between the western regions of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic to organize the unimpeded movement of citizens, vehicles, and cargo in both directions. The peacekeeping contingent of the Russian Federation is deployed in parallel with the withdrawal of the Armenian armed forces.
With this, the territorial integrity of the Republic of Azerbaijan has been restored and the occupation of Azerbaijan’s territories by Armenian forces has been ended.
We would like to share the truth about the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, one of the longest-running conflicts in the last decades.
The current phase of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict began with attacks on Azerbaijanis residing in Khankendi (Stepanakert during the Soviet era) and in Armenia in late 1987, resulting in an influx of Azerbaijani refugees and IDPs. During 1988-1989, Azerbaijanis were forced to leave Armenia. At least 216 Azerbaijanis were killed and 1,154 Azerbaijanis were injured during the mass deportations. As a result more than 250,000 Azerbaijanis were expelled from their historic lands and forced to take refuge in Azerbaijan.
In late 1991-early 1992, the military phase of the conflict began. In the early hours of 26 February 1992, the Armenian armed forces occupied Khojaly with the help of the 366th Motorized Rifle Regiment of the former USSR. The brutal killing of hundreds of innocent residents of Khojaly was one of the most heinous crimes committed during the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. As a result of the Khojaly genocide, 613 people were killed, including 106 women, 63 children and 70 elderly people. 1,275 people were taken hostage, and the fate of 150 remains unknown. During the tragedy, 487 residents of Khojaly, including 76 minors were seriously injured, 6 families were completely destroyed, 26 children lost both parents and 130 children lost one parent.
In May 1992, the Armenian armed forces occupied the city of Shusha and the Lachin region, and in 1993, six more regions of Azerbaijan – Kalbajar, Agdam, Fuzuli, Jabrayil, Gubadli and Zangilan – were occupied. As a result of that, over 1 million refugees and IDPs have been displaced from their native lands; their rights have been violated.
The UN Security Council adopted 4 Resolutions (822, 853, 874, 884) calling for the immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of all occupying forces from the Kalbajar, Agdam regions, the Zangilan district, Horadiz settlement and other occupied territories of Azerbaijan in accordance with the OSCE Minsk Group’s settlement schedule.
According to preliminary data, as a result of the Armenian aggression against the Republic of Azerbaijan, the country has suffered losses worth tens of billions of US dollars. A ceasefire agreement was signed on 12 May 1994, but Armenia continues to violate the ceasefire. Since the summer of 2003, the number of ceasefire violations by the Armenian side has sharply increased. Along with Azerbaijani soldiers along the ceasefire line, they open fire and kill civilians living in the surrounding areas.
In early April 2016, when the frontline positions and settlements of Azerbaijan came under heavy artillery fire by the Armenian armed forces, units of our army prevented these provocations with a counterattack. This went down in history as the April Battles. These battles resulted in the victory of the Azerbaijani Army. Some positions along the heights around Talysh village of the Tartar region, Lalatapa height and Jojug Marjanli village of the Jabrayil region, Gulustan village of the Goranboy region and Madagiz village of the Tartar region were liberated.
Clashes on the Armenia-Azerbaijan border again broke out on July 12, 2020 after heavy artillery fire by Armenia on Azerbaijani positions in the western Tovuz region of the country, which is far from the main conflict zone in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. As a result of the hostilities, eleven servicemen of the Azerbaijani army, including one general were killed by the Armenian troops. Starting on July 13, Armenia's military targeted civilian villages in Azerbaijan, killing one resident and damaging tens of houses by heavy artillery fire.
On 27 September 2020, at around 6am, the Armenian armed forces committed a large-scale provocation by intensively shelling the positions of the Azerbaijani Army along the frontline and our settlements with large-calibre weapons, mortars and artillery of various calibres. To prevent these attacks and to ensure the safety of its citizens, Azerbaijan started counterattack operations along the entire line of contact.
Armenia systematically launches missile strikes from its territory, as well as from the city of Khankendi, on densely populated areas of Azerbaijan and its civilian infrastructure. The Armenian armed forces, in gross violation of the norms and principles of international law, the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and its Additional Protocols, and UN Security Council resolutions, has been deliberately targeting the civilian population of Azerbaijan and firing missiles at cities and villages including Agjabadi, Agdam, Barda, Beylagan, Tovuz, Shamkir, Tartar, Goranboy, Gadabay and Fuzuli, as well as in Ganja and Mingachevir, and the Khizi and Absheron regions.
The Prosecutor General's Office of the Republic of Azerbaijan reported that since 27 September, 94 civilians have been killed, 414 have been injured, 512 civilian buildings and 3410 civilian houses have been damaged as a result of heavy artillery shelling of settlements by the Armenian armed forces.
Due to the occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions by the armed forces of Armenia and its military attacks and provocations against the Republic of Azerbaijan, martial law was declared in the whole territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan from 00:00 on 28 September 2020.
On 28 September, a partial mobilisation was announced in the Republic of Azerbaijan by the order of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Azerbaijan have announced the liberation of more than 300 villages, settlements and cities in Tartar, Jabrayil, Fuzuli, Khojavend, Zangilan, Gubadli, Khojaly and Lachin districts, including Jabrayil, Fuzuli, Zangilan, Gubadli and Shusha cities.
The Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Azerbaijan stated that the servicemen of the Azerbaijan Army were acting in accordance with the requirements of the Memorandum of standards of the International Humanitarian Law, which must be adhered to by the parties of an international armed conflict.
Our servicemen provided protection to people not participating in the fighting, providing them with medical and other assistance, as well as complying with the rules for dealing with the missing and the dead.
In addition, during military operations, the Azerbaijan Army distinguishes between the civilian population/infrastructure and the military personnel/facilities and also protects the civilian population and infrastructure from military strikes.
We hope in the near future Azerbaijan will be able to offer international visitors a new tourist destination - the destination of Karabakh.
Sources for official information on the course of events: