Ar­me­nia con­tin­ues to break cease-fire, at­tack civil­ians

In an at­tempt to main­tain con­trol of il­le­gally oc­cu­pied ter­ri­to­ries, Ar­me­nian sep­a­ratists con­tinue to vi­o­late the cease-fire in place while Azer­bai­jan re­pels as­saults

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Front Page -

DE­SPITE a re­cent cease-fire deal, Ar­me­nian sep­a­ratists have con­tin­ued at­tack­ing Azer­bai­jani forces and civil­ians as the num­ber of ca­su­al­ties con­tin­ues to rise. Azer­bai­jan’s De­fense Min­istry said in a state­ment yes­ter­day that Ar­me­nian forces staged night at­tacks in a bid to re­cap­ture pre­vi­ously lost po­si­tions. Ac­cord­ing to the min­istry, while re­pelling the at­tacks, the Azer­bai­jan mil­i­tary de­stroyed three Grad type mul­ti­ple launch rocket sys­tems (MLRSs), one ZSU-23-4 self­pro­pelled anti-air­craft weapon sys­tem, two BMP-2 in­fantry fight­ing ve­hi­cles (IFVs), three Gi­atsint B how­itzers, one D-20 type how­itzer, three un­manned aerial ve­hi­cles (UAVs) and a few per­son­nel car­ri­ers, neu­tral­iz­ing many Ar­me­nian sol­diers in the process. Apart from reg­u­lar troops from dif­fer­ent Ar­me­nian Army reg­i­ments, vol­un­teers par­tic­i­pated in the night at­tacks con­ducted by small groups, but suf­fered heavy hu­man and ma­te­rial losses, the state­ment added. The Azer­bai­jani mil­i­tary has acted in com­pli­ance with the cease-fire and has not con­ducted any war ma­neu­vers, it un­der­lined. In a sep­a­rate state­ment, the min­istry also stated that Ar­me­nian forces had opened fire on res­i­den­tial ar­eas in Azer­bai­jan’s Agh­jabadi, Agh­dam, Tar­tar and Go­ran­boy prov­inces. As the at­tacks by the Ar­me­nian sep­a­ratists con­tinue, the num­ber of ca­su­al­ties con­tin­ues to in­crease.

LATER on the same day, Azer­bai­jan’s Pros­e­cu­tor Gen­eral’s Of­fice said 42 Azer­bai­jani civil­ians have lost their lives, while 206 oth­ers sus­tained in­juries in Ar­me­nian forces’ at­tacks on civil­ian set­tle­ments.

In a state­ment, the of­fice said 479 houses, 66 apart­ments and 241 pub­lic build­ings were de­stroyed in the at­tacks car­ried out by Ar­me­nia from Sept. 27 to Oct. 13.Fol­low­ing meet­ings in Moscow on Oct. 10, Azer­bai­jan and Ar­me­nia agreed on a hu­man­i­tar­ian cease-fire so that con­flict­ing sides could re­trieve bod­ies left on the bat­tle­field in Nagorno-Karabakh and hold pris­on­ers’ ex­change.

The cease-fire did not sur­vive even for a full day, as Yere­van launched a mis­sile at­tack against civil­ians on Azer­bai­jan’s sec­ond-largest city, Ganja on Sun­day.

De­spite the de­ci­sion to cease hos­til­i­ties, Ar­me­nian forces launched a mis­sile strike on Azer­bai­jan’s sec­ond-largest city, Ganja – de­spite the re­gion be­ing out­side the front­line zone – leav­ing at least 10 dead and 35 oth­ers wounded, in­clud­ing women and chil­dren.

ICRC PRE­PAR­ING FOR THE EX­CHANGE

Mean­while, the In­ter­na­tional Com­mit­tee of the Red Cross (ICRC) an­nounced yes­ter­day that it is work­ing on an op­er­a­tion to fa­cil­i­tate the trans­fer of the bod­ies of those killed in the oc­cu­pied NagornoKar­abakh con­flict, as well as the re­lease of de­tainees.

“The ICRC is ready to ease han­dover of bod­ies of those killed in the NagornoKar­abakh con­flict and the re­lease of de­tainees, but the sides need to agree on the for­mat be­tween them­selves,” Martin Schuepp, ICRC Eura­sia re­gional di­rec­tor, told a news brief­ing in Geneva said.

The en­voy noted that the com­mit­tee was “pass­ing pro­pos­als back and forth” but an op­er­a­tional and lo­gis­ti­cal ar­range­ment would be nec­es­sary in ad­di­tion to guar­an­tees on the safety of the ICRC teams for such an op­er­a­tion to take place.

TURK­ISH OP­PO­SI­TION BACK BAKU

As Tur­key and Azer­bai­jan en­joy the high­est level of co­op­er­a­tion and broth­erly ties in line with their broad “one na­tion,

two states” pol­icy cham­pi­oned by of­fi­cials from both coun­tries, the for­mer con­tin­ues to sup­port the lat­ter in ev­ery pos­si­ble way while sup­port­ive state­ments have been voiced by both Turk­ish gov­ern­ment and op­po­si­tion par­ties yes­ter­day.

In a phone call with Euro­pean Coun­cil Chair­man Charles Michel on Mon­day, Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­doğan touched upon the ten­sions in the Cau­ca­sus and called upon the EU to have a co­her­ent stance on Azer­bai­jan’s ter­ri­to­rial in­tegrity. He noted that the in­vad­ing Ar­me­nian forces’ at­tacks on pipe­lines threaten Europe’s energy se­cu­rity.

Na­tion­al­ist Move­ment Party (MHP) Chair­man Devlet Bahçeli urged an end to the il­le­gal Ar­me­nian oc­cu­pa­tion.

“Try­ing to find so­lu­tions at the ne­go­ti­a­tions ta­ble with­out the with­drawal of the ter­ror­ist state of Ar­me­nia from NagornoKar­abakh and end­ing the fight­ing be­fore Azer­bai­jan has re­ceived its ter­ri­to­ries un­der il­le­gal oc­cu­pa­tion mean le­git­imiz­ing murder and op­pres­sion,” Bahçeli said.

The chair­per­son also warned the sep­a­ratist Ar­me­nian forces against any pos­si­ble ag­gres­sion.

“It would be wise for those who tar­get Baku to not for­get the fact that they would sud­denly have to pay a price in Yere­van, for their well-be­ing and safety,” he said.

On the other hand, chair­man of the main op­po­si­tion Repub­li­can Peo­ple’s Party (CHP), Ke­mal Kılıç­daroğlu said that Ar­me­nia was com­mit­ting “war crimes” and “ter­ror.”

“For the sake of stop­ping the blood­shed, Ar­me­nia should with­draw from the Azer­bai­jani ter­ri­to­ries it holds un­der oc­cu­pa­tion. But it does not do this, and bombs the civil­ians in­stead. This is a crime against hu­man­ity, this is ter­ror,” he said.

Chair­per­son of the op­po­si­tion Good Party (İP) Meral Akşener also blasted the Ar­me­nian oc­cu­pa­tion.

“We are fol­low­ing with con­cern the at­tacks by Ar­me­nia on our civil­ian brothers. The in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity should get to know this mon­stros­ity, which drops bombs on civil­ians in Ganja hours af­ter the cease-fire be­gan,” she said.

“Tur­key should al­ways side with Azer­bai­jan,” Akşener added.

The clashes be­gan on Sept. 27 when Ar­me­nian forces tar­geted civil­ian Azer­bai­jani set­tle­ments and mil­i­tary po­si­tions in the re­gion, lead­ing to ca­su­al­ties.

Re­la­tions be­tween the two for­mer Soviet republics have been tense since 1991 when the Ar­me­nian mil­i­tary oc­cu­pied Nagorno-Karabakh.

Some 20% of Azer­bai­jan’s ter­ri­tory has re­mained un­der il­le­gal Ar­me­nian oc­cu­pa­tion for some three decades.

Four U.N. Se­cu­rity Coun­cil (UNSC) and two U.N. Gen­eral As­sem­bly (UNGA) res­o­lu­tions, as well as many in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions, de­mand the with­drawal of the oc­cu­py­ing forces.

The Or­ga­ni­za­tion for Se­cu­rity and Co-op­er­a­tion in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group – co-chaired by France, Rus­sia and the United States – was formed in 1992 to find a peace­ful so­lu­tion to the con­flict but to no avail. A cease-fire, how­ever, was agreed to in 1994.

Many world pow­ers, in­clud­ing Rus­sia, France, and the U.S., have urged a new cease-fire.

Tur­key, mean­while, has sup­ported Baku’s right to self-de­fense and de­manded the with­drawal of oc­cu­py­ing Ar­me­nian forces.

P AF

Peo­ple take shel­ter in the base­ment of a build­ing in Azer­bai­jan’s Tar­tar as they es­cape Ar­me­nian shelling dur­ing an on­go­ing mil­i­tary con­flict over the Ar­me­nia-oc­cu­pied Nagorno-Karabakh, Azer­bai­jan, on Oct. 13, 2020.

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