Written by Monica Yelinyan
The war between Armenia and Azerbaijan is still going on. Many soldiers have lost their lives and both countries report that civilian casualties have also occurred as a result of the attacks on each other.
Innocent citizens affected
Stepanakert, the capital of Nagorno-Karabakh, appears to have been attacked several times by Azerbaijan. Innocent civilians are in mortal danger. On the 4th October, the capital was struck by a rocket. This was reported to be the worst hit since the start of the war. Karabakh officials report that the capital was hit by Polonez and Smerch multiple-launch rocket system.
President of Republic Artsakh reported the following message on his Facebook page, which was mainly addressed to the citizens of Azerbaijan: “Despite numerous warnings, the Azerbaijani terrorist army continues targeting the civilian population in Stepanakert, using ‘Polonez’ and ‘Smerch’ multiple launch rocket systems. From now on, military facilities permanently located in major cities of Azerbaijan became the target of the Defense Army. I call on the people of Azerbaijan to leave these cities as soon as possible to avoid possible casualties. The full responsibility of the situation lies on the military-political authorities of Azerbaijan.”
On Monday 5 October, Stepanakert was hit by rackets again. The rackets ended up in residential areas and other parts of the city. Vahram Poghosian, spokesman of Arayik Harutyunyan condemned the attack on Stepanakert and said that Karabakh's army will hit Azerbaijani military facilities in large cities.
Azerbaijan also reports that civilians were killed in Armenia's attack on the city of Ganja. As a result, Baku states that it will respond to this attack. Leader of Nagorno-Karabakh mentioned that the troops had attacked a military airbase in Ganja and stopped firing to prevent civilian casualties.
On 26 September 2020, Azerbaijan attacked the Republic of Artsakh. The MFA of Armenia therefore made the following statement: ‘Early this morning, the Azerbaijani side launched missile attacks along the entire line of contact targeting also the peaceful settlements, including the capital Stepanakert. We strongly condemn the aggression of the military-political leadership of Azerbaijan against the Republic of Artsakh. The Armenian sides will act confidently with all their capacities to ensure the security of the people of Artsakh and to deliver appropriate military and political responses. The military-political leadership of Azerbaijan bears full responsibility for the consequences of their aggression.’ Arayik Harutyunyan, Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport or RA, also reported this on his Facebook page.
The attack would be on the Nagorno-Karabakh area. While Turkey supports Azerbaijan in its attack, Russia, France and the United States of America have repeatedly called on the countries to end this conflict and to negotiate with each other. However, the President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is of the opinion that the three countries should 'demand that Armenians pull their troops out of Azerbaijan'.
The President of Azerbaijan, Iham Aliyev, said that he will end hostility if Armenia agrees to 'leave our country unconditionally, fully and immediately'.
In addition to the attack, Azerbaijan is also accused of importing Syrian fighters to assist them in waging war against Armenia. These fighters were paid for their service. The President of France, Macron, emphasizes that it is indeed the case that Syrian fighters from jihadist groups were persuaded by Gaziantep to Azerbaijan to fight. Azerbaijan denied the claims and that it is 'fake news' in an interview with Al Jazeera TV channel.
Brief history of the territory
Nagorno-Karabakh is currently an independent area under Armenia's administration. The area was handed over by Stalin to SSR Azerbaijan in 1921, regardless of the fact that the population was overwhelmingly Armenian, around 90%. As a result, the Armenian population wanted to belong to Armenia. However, this was not approved by Azerbaijan. Nagorno-Karabakh adopted a resolution in 1988 to transfer the administration of Soviet Azerbaijan to Soviet Armenia. This action let to anti-Armenian pogroms in Azerbaijan city of Sugmait. Nagorno-Karabakh finally declared itself an independent republic in 1991.