2020 Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

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2020 Nagorno-Karabakh conflict
Part of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the Russia-Turkey proxy conflict[1]
September 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh clashes.png
  Territory claimed by the Republic of Artsakh but controlled by Azerbaijan
  Territory captured by Azerbaijan
Date27 September 2020 (2020-09-27)present
(1 year, 2 months and 4 days)
Location
Status Ongoing
Territorial
changes
Artsakh says Azerbaijan captured some positions,[2] some of which were later recaptured[3]
Azerbaijan claims to have captured 7 villages and several heights[4][5][6]
Belligerents
 Azerbaijan
Disputed:
Template:Country data Syrian opposition Syrian National ArmyTemplate:Cref
 TurkeyTemplate:Cref
Template:Country data Republic of Artsakh
 Armenia
Disputed:
Ethnic Armenian mercenaries from the Middle East and SyriaTemplate:Cref
Commanders and leaders
Ilham Aliyev
(President, Commander-in-Chief)
Col. Gen. Zakir Hasanov
(Minister of Defence)
Maj. Gen. Mais Barkhudarov[7]
Template:Country data Artsakh Arayik Harutyunyan (President, Commander-in-Chief)
Template:Country data Artsakh Jalal Harutyunyan [hy] (Minister of Defence)
Nikol Pashinyan
(Prime Minister, Commander-in-Chief)
David Tonoyan (Minister of Defence)
Onik Gasparyan (Chief of the General Staff)
Units involved

Azerbaijani Armed Forces
Disputed:

23x15px Turkish Armed Forces

Artsakh Defence Army
Armed Forces of Armenia
Strength
Template:Country data Syrian opposition 320–500 fightersTemplate:Cref Unknown
Casualties and losses

Per Azerbaijan:

  • Unknown[9]
  • One combat helicopter damaged[10]

Per Armenia:[11]

  • 790 servicemen killed
  • 1,900 servicemen wounded
  • 137 tanks/IFVs destroyed
  • 72 UAVs downed
  • 7 helicopters downed
  • 1 aircraft downed

Per other sources:

  • 30+ servicemen killed (Islamic World News)[12]
  • 30 Syrian fighters killed (a SNA leader)[13]

Per Armenia:[14]

  • 85 servicemen killed
  • 120+ servicemen wounded
  • 1 Su-25 downed[8]

Per Azerbaijan:[15]

  • 2,300+ servicemen killed or wounded
  • 6 command posts, and command-observation posts destroyed
  • ~130 tanks/IFVs destroyed
  • 55 other military vehicles destroyed
  • 200+ artillery pieces, multiple launch rocket systems, grenade launchers destroyed
  • 18 UAVs downed
  • 5 ammunition depots destroyed
  • 25 anti-aircraft systems destroyed
  • 50 anti-tank weapons destroyed
13 Azerbaijani and 4 Armenian civilians killed;[16][17][14] 35 Azerbaijani[16] and 30+ Armenian civilians injured[14]
Template:Campaignbox Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

The 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is an ongoing armed conflict between the armed forces of Azerbaijan and Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh, the latest escalation in the unresolved Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The clashes began on the morning of 27 September 2020 along the Nagorno-Karabakh Line of Contact. Both sides reported military and civilian casualties.[18] In response to the clashes, Armenia and the self-proclaimed Republic of Artsakh introduced martial law and total mobilization,[19][20] while Azerbaijan introduced martial law and a curfew.[21] On 28 September partial mobilization was declared in Azerbaijan.[22] The United Nations has strongly condemned the conflict and called on both sides to deescalate tensions and resume meaningful negotiations without delay.[23]

Background[edit source | edit]

The clashes stem from the dispute over the Armenian-majority Nagorno-Karabakh, an internationally recognised territory of Azerbaijan, which is presently held by the self-proclaimed Republic of Artsakh.[24][25][26][19] The Nagorno-Karabakh War had ended with a ceasefire in 1994, with Armenia in control of the Nagorno-Karabakh region, as well as the surrounding districts of Aghdam, Jabrail, Fuzuli, Kalbajar, Gubadli, Lachin and Zangilan of Azerbaijan. According to the 2018 war report prepared by the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, "Armenia exercises its authority over Nagorno-Karabakh by equipping, financing or training and providing operational support to the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and its forces, but also in coordinating and helping the general planning of their military and paramilitary activities".[27] For three decades multiple violations of the ceasefire have occurred, the most serious being the 2016 Nagorno-Karabakh clashes and the July 2020 clashes at the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan.[28] Thousands of Azerbaijanis demonstrated for war against Armenia, with Turkey propagandizing in support of Azerbaijan.[29]

On 23 July 2020, Armenia announced the start of a joint air defence system exercise with Russia and an analysis of July 2020 clashes.[30] A week later, Azerbaijan conducted a series of military exercises that lasted from 29 July to 10 August,[31][32][33] and further exercises in early September with the involvement of Turkey.[34] In late September, Armenia took part in joint military exercises on the southern border of the Russian Federation, in Armenia as well as in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, both self-declared independent states within what most of the international community regards as the national borders of Georgia.[35][36] During the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan issued a statement supporting the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and Georgia.[37][38]

Prior to the resumption of hostilities, allegations emerged that hundreds of Syrian National Army members from the Hamza Division were transferred to Azerbaijan,[39] while according to Turkish sources, many YPG and PKK members from Iraq and Syria were transferred to Nagorno-Karabakh in order to train Armenian militias against Azerbaijan.[40][dubious ]

Timeline of military engagement[edit source | edit]

27 September[edit source | edit]

According to the press secretary of the President of the Republic of Artsakh, Vahram Poghosyan, hostilities commenced when at 08:03 am Azerbaijani armed forces launched artillery and aerial strikes against civilian settlements, including the capital Stepanakert. Authorities urged the population to seek cover in bomb shelters.[41]

The Azerbaijani side stated that at about 06:00 local time, Armenian armed forces started intensive shelling of Azerbaijani army positions along the entire front line and of Azerbaijani settlements in the zone.[42] Azerbaijan stated that the Armenian side had attacked and that Azerbaijan had launched a counteroffensive in response.[43] Hikmet Hajiyev, senior adviser to Azerbaijan's president, Ilham Aliyev, accused Armenian forces of launching "deliberate and targeted" attacks along the front line.[44]

The Armenian Ministry of Defence (MoD) stated that the Azerbaijani offensive, also aimed at Stepanakert, began at 08:10 local time (04:10 GMT).[45] In the offensive Azerbaijan deployed manpower, tank and rocket artillery units, aviation and UAVs.[46] The self-proclaimed Republic of Artsakh introduced martial law and total mobilization of its male population.[20] On the same day Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev addressed the nation concerning the clashes.[47] In the afternoon martial law and a curfew was also introduced in Azerbaijan. The martial law in Azerbaijan was stated to be effective from midnight, 28 September, while the curfew was stated to be effective in Baku, major cities and some regions from 21:00 to 06:00 local time. In the clashes the Azerbaijani military deployed tanks, artillery, missile systems and aircraft near the front line and entered deeper into Nagorno-Karabakh.[48] Civilians in Nagorno-Karabakh were urged to enter shelters.[48] According to Artsrun Hovhannisyan, in the morning Azerbaijani armed forces also attacked in the direction of Vardenis in the territory of Armenia proper.[49]

By the afternoon on 27 September the Azerbaijani MoD stated it had taken seven villages in Nagorno-Karabakh: Garakhanbayli, Garvand, Horadiz, Yuxarı Əbdürrəhmanlı, Aşağı Əbdürrəhmanlı, Boyuk Marjanli and Nuzgar.[50][51] The Ministry of Defence of Artsakh denied these claims, accusing the Azerbaijani army of propagandizing.[52] At 16:29, the ministry announced that the Azerbaijani Military Command proposed that the Armenian command in this zone surrender, in order to avoid the destruction of its garrison in Aghdara and reduce casualties, while affirming that civilians and prisoners of war would be treated in accordance with international humanitarian law and the Geneva Conventions, and resistance would be met by force.[53] In the afternoon, the Azerbaijani MoD stated it had taken a mountain peak in the Murovdag range.[54] The Ministry also stated that Azerbaijani forces had taken effective control of the VardenisMartakert/Aghdara highway, connecting Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia.[55] The Armenian MoD denied these claims.[56] Subsequently, the Azerbaijani MoD released a video of an Azerbaijani drone destroying a military depot belonging to the Armenian military.[57]

The Deputy Governor of East Azerbaijan, Alyar Rastgoo, stated that as a result of the clashes, a stray artillery projectile had hit the village of Khalaf Beyglu in Khoda Afarin County, Iran, resulting in no financial damage or human casualties.[58]

28 September[edit source | edit]

Murovdag peak (above) and VardenisMartakert/Aghdara M11 highway (below), which came under the Azerbaijani control according to the country's defence ministry.

At approximately 01:00, the Azerbaijani MoD released a video depicting three Armenian military vehicles being targeted on the line of contact by strikes by Azerbaijani military units. The Ministry denied any Armenian claims, including of the number of its casualties, and leveled accusations of Armenian propagandizing in the faces of claimed Azerbaijani military successes.[59] At approximately 6:45, the Ministry released further footage, depicting the apparent destruction of Armenian military equipment and vehicles.[60] At approximately 08:00, the Ministry stated that Armenian forces fired upon Tartar in the early morning and issued a warning,[61] while the Ministry of Foreign Affairs added that the Armenian forces had purposefully targeted civilian sites and civilians themselves.[62] The Azerbaijani MoD also released a video depicting the apparent destruction of two additional Armenian tanks.[63] The President of Artsakh stated that during the clashes in the morning, the Armenian side regained control over a number of previously ceded positions.[64] At approximately 10:00, the Azerbaijani MoD released footage of the engagement and claimed that Azerbaijani forces had gained strategically advantageous high ground around Talış, while claiming that the Armenians had incurred heavy losses.[65] Additionally, the Azerbaijani MoD alleged that among the Armenian casualties were mercenaries of Armenian origin from Syria and from a variety of Middle East countries.[66]

At approximately 13:10, the Azerbaijani MoD relesaed footage apparently showing two Armenian tanks being destroyed by the Azerbaijani UAVs.[67] At approximately 14:00, the Armenian media stated that an Azerbaijani UAV had been shot down near Vardenis.[68] Simultaneously, the President of the Republic of Artsakh stated that Azerbaijani forces were facing attacks on all fronts from Armenian forces.[69] At about 15:30, Poghosyan stated that the Armenian military was encountering supply problems.[70] Half an hour later, the Azerbaijani MoD stated that Azerbaijani forces had fired on Armenian artillery units in the direction of Aghdara that had been targeting Azerbaijani-controlled settlements. According to the Ministry, Armenian units incurred heavy losses from artillery fire and were forced to withdraw.[71]

At approximately 17:00, the Azerbaijani MoD published footage apparently showing destroyed Armenian military vehicles and claimed that additional Armenian military vehicles had been destroyed along the front.[72] At approximately 19:00, the Azerbaijani MoD stated that Armenian forces had fired upon Yuxarı Ağcakənd and Qaramusalı of the Goranboy District.[73] At approximately 20:00, the Deputy Commander of the Artsakh Defence Army, Arthur Sargsyan, stated that the Armenian forces had retaken some positions.[74] Additionally, the chairman of the National Assembly of the Republic of Artsakh, Arthur Tovmasyan, stated that Armenian forces had repelled Azerbaijani forces and had advanced into Azerbaijani territory.[75] Subsequently, at approximately 21:00, the Head of the Command and Personnel Faculty of the Vazgen Sargsyan Military University of the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Armenia, Artsrun Hovhannisyan, stated that Azerbaijani forces had launched a new major offensive operation in the Aras Valley and in the MadagizTalış direction.[76] Approximately one hour later, Poghosyan claimed that an Azerbaijani airplane had been shot down near Khojavend,[77] which was later denied by Azerbaijan.[78] Additionally, the Azerbaijani MoD denied allegations that Azerbaijan had used F-16s during the conflict, stating the Azerbaijani Air Force does not possess F-16s.[79]

Iranian media reported that two more rockets landed near homes in Khoda Afarin County.[80]

29 September[edit source | edit]

On 29 September, the clashes spilled over to Vardenis (above) and Daşkəsən (below), on the Armenian–Azerbaijani state border.

At approximately 08:00, the Azerbaijani MoD stated that intensified clashes had continued along the entire length of the front during the night, and that while the Armenian forces repeatedly attempted to counterattack, Azerbaijani units successfully repelled them them. Concurrently, Azerbaijani aerial and ground forces were stated to have destroyed a mixed column of Armenian military vehicles travelling from Madagiz in the direction of Aghdere, together with an artillery battery providing fire support.[81] At approximately 09:00, the Ministry stated that starting from 07:30, the territory of the Dashkasan District of Azerbaijan had been subjected to artillery fire from Vardenis, in Armenia,[82] However, this was denied by the Armenian Foreign Ministry, which claimed that it was a fabrication meant to justify expanding the theater of operations, including conducting aggression against Armenia.[83] with Hikmet Hajiyev, senior adviser to Azerbaijan's president, Ilham Aliyev, stating that it was part of an "ongoing act of Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan where the next attack act against Azerbaijan has been carried out from the territory of a sovereign state", i.e., Armenia."[84] The Azerbaijani MoD then stated that an Azerbaijani offensive on Fuzuli City continued from the early morning, while at approximately 07:00–08:00 in the morning, Azerbaijani forces stated it had destroyed four more Armenian tanks in the Fizuli-Jabrayil area of the front.[85] Approximately half an hour later, the Azerbaijani MoD denied this.[86] The Armenian MoD stated that units belonging to the Artsakh Defence Army had destroyed an assemblage of Azerbaijani armored equipment.[87]

At 10:15, the Azerbaijani MoD published footage apparently showing two Armenian tanks being destroyed.[88] A few minutes later, Hovhannisyan stated that an Azerbaijani UAV had been shot down in addition to another UAV in the morning.[89] At approximately 11:00, the Armenian MoD stated that the Azerbaijani military had opened fire across on the Armenian military base in Vardenis, across the Armenian state border, also deploying its air force.[90] At approximately 11:00, the Azerbaijani MoD stated that the Armenian 3rd Martuni Motorized Rifle Regiment, stationed in Khojavend District, had been destroyed by Azerbaijani forces.[91] However, this was denied by the Artsakh Ministry of Defence.[92] In addition, the Azerbaijani MoD claimed that it had killed the head of the artillery of the 18th Motorized Rifle Regiment of the Armenian Army, in Jabrayil District,[93] and that Azerbaijani forces had destroyed an Armenian military Uragan multiple rocket launcher in Khojavend District.[94] Subsequently, Hovhannisyan stated that Azerbaijani forces had attempted a further attack in southern and northern directions but had been repelled.[95] Simultaneously, the Azerbaijani MoD accused Armenia of fabricating footage to improve domestic morale.[96]

At about 12:00, Hovhannisyan stated that one Azerbaijani gunship had been shot down"[97] However, the Azerbaijani MoD denied this, claiming that it had not employed helicopters that day.[98] It also stated that an Armenian tank had been destroyed near Göyarx village in the former Aghdara District.[99] At approximately 12:40, Hovhannisyan stated that Artsakh Defence Army units had destroyed two helicopters using Igla man-portable surface-to-air missile launchers in the eastern direction, and the Ministry published footage of this.[100] Hovhannisyan then stated that Azerbaijani forces were bombarding areas near Vardenis.[101] Then, the Azerbaijani MoD stated it had destroyed a command-and-observation post belonging to the 3rd camp of the 1st Regiment of the Armenian Army in the Hadrut settlement in Khojavend District,[102] while the Armenian MoD stated that the Armenian military would be deploying heavier weapons systems and that Armenian forces were repelling Azerbaijani offensives.[103] The Azerbaijani MoD stated that an Armenian attempt to assault Azerbaijani-controlled military positions from Aşağı Veysəlli in Fuzuli District had been repelled, stating that the Armenian forces were forced to retreat, with losses.[104] At approximately 13:20, the Armenian MoD stated that the Azerbaijani military had launched an offensives using artillery, UAVs, tanks and other armored vehicles.[105] At about 14:30 the Azerbaijani MoD claimed that the Armenian forces in Madagiz were demoralized.[106] At approximately 15:30, the Azerbaijani MoD claimed that S-300 missile systems defending Yerevan's airspace were being removed from their positions and moving in the direction of Nagorno-Karabakh and claimed that they would be destroyed.[107] Shortly after, the Artsakh Defence Army published footage apparently showing Armenian forces downing an Azerbaijani gunship,[108] with Hovhannisyan reporting that Armenian forces hd destroyed Azerbaijani tanks with mortars.[109] At approximately 16:30, the Azerbaijani MoD published footage apparently showing Azerbaijani artillery units firing on Armenian forces.[110]

At approximately 18:00, the Artsakh MoD stated that the Azerbaijani side had attacked along the northern and north-eastern directions with tanks, while the Armenians had inflicted losses on the Azerbaijani units.[111] Shortly after, the Armenian MoD stated that a Turkish F-16, taking off from Ganja International Airport, had shot down an Armenian Su-25, killing the pilot.[8] This was denied by both Azerbaijani[112] and Turkish[113] authorities. Then, at approximately 19:30, the Armenian MoD published footage apparently showing the destruction of an Azerbaijani unit.[114] At approximately 22:00, the Armenian MoD stated that an Azerbaijani convoy loaded with ammunition had been destroyed.[115] Approximately an hour later, the Azerbaijani MoD stated that Azerbaijani forces had destroyed the positions of the Armenian 1st Battalion of the 5th Motorized Infantry Regiment near Həsənqaya in the Tartar District and the 1st Battalion of the 6th Motorized Infantry Regiment in the direction of Talış with artillery strikes.[116]

30 September[edit source | edit]

At approximately 01:10, the Azerbaijani MoD released footage apparently showing the destruction of Armenian military vehicles, including tanks, in the area of Jabrayil District.[117] At approximately 08:30, the Azerbaijani MoD stated that the Armenian forces have been firing upon Tartar City with artillery equipment since 08:00.[118] Simultaneously, the Armenian MoD stated that Armenian forces shot down an Azerbaijani IAI Harop drone, which was apparently being used as a loitering munition.[119] At approximately 10:20, the Azerbaijani MoD stated that the Azerbaijani units had surrounded Armenian forces with the aid of artillery fire, and that clashes continued in the Aghdara/MartakertTartar direction of the front.[120] At approximately 10:20, the Ministry stated that the Armenian military had started firing upon Aşağı Ağcakənd, in Goranboy District.[121] At approximately 11:40, the Azerbaijani MoD released footage apparently showing the Azerbaijan military delivering artillery strikes on Armenian positions.[122]

Casualties[edit source | edit]

Civilian casualties[edit source | edit]

Human rights advocate Artak Beglaryan of Artsakh said that on 27 September, a woman and a child were killed by Azerbaijani shelling of civilian settlements in Martuni Province in Nagorno-Karabakh. According to him, schools were shelled, and there was large-scale damage to civilian infrastructure in many settlements.[123] According to Beglaryan, "In Stepanakert alone, there are more than 10 injured, including children and women."[124] The Azerbaijani Ministry of Defence denied these claims.[125]

The Prosecutor General's Office of the Republic of Azerbaijan, in a statement, reported that during the clashes, as a result of intensive firing from the Armenian heavy artillery installations, 12 people were killed, while 35 people were hospitalized with various injuries as of 29 September.[16] According to the Press Service of the Azerbaijani Ministry of Foreign Affairs, residents of the Qaşaltı Qaraqoyunlu, Naftalan, 69-year-old Elbrus Gurbanov, and four members of his family, 64-year-old Shafayat Gurbanova, 14-year-old Fidan Gurbanova, 13-year-old Shahriyar Gurbanov, and 39-year-old Afag Amirova were killed as a result of artillery fire by Armenian armed forces.[126] On 28 September, the Prosecutor General's Office of the Republic of Azerbaijan, reported that one of the bullets fired by the Armenian forces hit the house of 41-year-old Joshgun Anvar oglu Pashayev, a civilian from Evoğlu, and resulted in his death.[16] It also reported that 45-year-old Mehman Sovet oglu Aliyev was killed by shrapnel falling near the administrative building of the Tartar District Court on Heydar Aliyev Avenue in Tartar.[127] The driver of an ambulance passing through the area, 52-year-old Ganbar Asgar oglu Asadov, and a military police officer in the vehicle, 26-year-old Fakhraddin Farman oglu Huseynov, as well as another Tartar resident, 29-year-old Tural Firdovsi oglu Ibrahimov, were also injured.[128] According to the statement, the Armenian Armed Forces were targeting "densely populated areas—regional and rural centers, civil infrastructure objects—hospitals, medical centers, school buildings, kindergartens".[129] According to the Prosecutor General's Office of the Republic of Azerbaijan, on the same day, at about 19:00, 39-year-old Khalig Asif oglu Abbasov and his brother 36-year-old Elshan Asif oglu Abbasov were killed by an artillery projectile shot in the yard of an apartment building for the disabled and IDPs in Shikharkh settlement of the Tartar District. Also, 36-year-old Seymur Fuzuli oglu Mammadov and 31-year-old Faig Malik oglu Mahmudov were hospitalized with various injuries.[130] Prosecutor General's Office of the Republic of Azerbaijan reported that at about 18:00, 14-year-old Hilal Ilgar oglu Haziyev from Cocuq Mərcanlı was "hospitalized with shrapnel wounds in the head as a result of a fire opened by the Armenian Armed Forces while he was grazing sheep in the village."[131] On 29 September, an artillery projectile fired by the Armenian forces hit Garadaghli in Aghdam, and injured 23-year-old Elmeddin Humbat oglu Sariyev. He was hospitalized, but he died shortly after.[132] Then, it was reported that 61-year-old Ayna Mahammadali gizi Mehdiyeva from Tartar was killed as a result of Armenian shelling.[133]

Military casualties[edit source | edit]

In regards to military losses, Azerbaijan has claimed that more than 2,300 Armenian servicemen have been killed or wounded, and that it has destroyed about 130 tanks and other armored vehicles, 55 other military vehicles, 6 command posts, and command-observation posts, more than 200+ artillery pieces, multiple launch rocket systems, including a BM-27 Uragan, and grenade launchers, 25 Armenian anti-aircraft units, including a S-300, and 9K33 Osas, 18 UAVs, 50 anti-tank weapons, and 5 ammunition depots.[15] In turn an Azerbaijani helicopter was damaged, but its crew brought it to the Azerbaijani-controlled territories with no casualties.[10]

Armenia and Artsakh authorities initially claimed the downing of four Azerbaijani helicopters and the destruction of ten tanks and IFVs, as well as 15 drones.[134] Later the numbers were revised to 400 Azerbaijani soldiers killed,[135] 36 tanks and armored personnel vehicles destroyed, 2 armored combat engineering vehicles destroyed and the downing of 4 helicopters and 27 unmanned aerial vehicles all within the first day of hostilities.[136] They released footage to that effect, showing the destruction or damage of 5 Azerbaijani tanks.[137][138][139]

Artsakh authorities reported the deaths of 85 servicemen, with over 120 injured.[14] Also, an Armenian Su-25 was downed.[8]

Analysis[edit source | edit]

In an interview given on 27 September regional expert Thomas de Waal stated that it was highly unlikely that the hostilities were initiated by the Armenian side. “Basically, Armenians won the war of the 1990s, they have all the territory they want,” de Waal said. “Their incentive is to normalize the status quo.” “For various reasons, Azerbaijan calculates that military action will win it something,” he said.[140]

One commentator in the journal Foreign Policy predicted that Azerbaijan would have great difficulty in trying to occupy the entire area of Nagorno-Karabakh due to the extremely inaccessible mountainous terrain controlled by Armenian troops. In addition, he opined that the readiness of the Azerbaijani army was very poor, with the army being very unhappy, corrupt and inefficient, with as much as a 20 percent desertion rate. Further, despite large investments in the purchase of military equipment from oil profits, the Azerbaijani army was said to lack adequate training for the use of new equipment.[141]

The suspected immediate goal of the Azerbaijani attack is to capture the districts of Fuzuli and Jabrayil in southern Nagorno-Karabakh, where the terrain is less mountainous and more favorable for offensive operations.[142]

Official statements[edit source | edit]

Armenia[edit source | edit]

On 27 September, the Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan accused the Azerbaijani authorities of a large-scale provocation. The Prime Minister stated that the "recent aggressive statements of the Azerbaijani leadership, large-scale joint military exercises with Turkey, as well as the rejection of OSCE proposals for monitoring clearly indicate that this aggression was pre-planned and constitutes a large-scale provocation against peace and security in region."[143]

On 28 September, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia issued a statement, claiming that the "people of Artsakh are at war with the Turkish–Azerbaijani alliance".[144] The Ambassador of Armenia to Russia, Vardan Toganyan, did not rule out that Armenia may turn to Russia for new arms supplies.[145]

On 29 September, Pashinyan stated that "Azerbaijan, with active encouragement, political and military support of Turkey, is expanding geography of hostilities to territory of Armenia."[146]

On 30 September, Pashinyan stated that Armenia was "considering the possibility of officially recognizing the independence of the Republic of Artsakh".[147]

Azerbaijan[edit source | edit]

Meeting of the Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev with the country's Security Council on 27 September.

On 26 September, according to the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defence, the day before the offensive, the Armenian military fired in different directions along the front line, violating the ceasefire 48 times. Azerbaijan stated that the Armenian side attacked first, and stated that the Azerbaijani forces then launched a counter-offensive.[148] On 27 September, the Office of the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, accused Armenian forces of a "willful and deliberate" attack on the front line,[149] and in "deliberately targeting of the residential areas and the civilians", calling it a "gross violation of international humanitarian law."[150] On 28 September, the Office of the President of Azerbaijan stated that Armenia's actions had destroyed the peace negotiations through an act of aggression against Azerbaijan,[151] adding that a war had been launched against Azerbaijan, mobilizing the people of Azerbaijan, and declaring a Great Patriotic War.[152] The Office then stated that the deployment of the Armenian military in Nagorno-Karabakh constituted a threat to regional peace and accused Armenia of propagandizing, adding that the Azerbaijani military was operating according to international law.[153] The Azerbaijani State Committee for Family, Women and Children Affairs issued a statement accusing the Armenian military of purposefully targeting civilians, including women and children .[154] Furthermore, the Azerbaijani Minister of Foreign Affairs denied any claims of Turkish involvement, while admitting military-technical cooperation with Turkey and other countries.[155] On 29 September, the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev received the credentials of the newly appointed Ambassador of Pakistan to Azerbaijan, Bilal Hayee, and spoke about the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. The President stated that the Armenian occupation and aggression had led not to the destruction of infrastructure and mosques, caused the Khojaly massacre, and resulted in cultural genocide, resulting in an insult to the Muslim world and were tantamount to an official policy of Islamophobia and hatred of Azerbaijanis.[156] The Azerbaijani Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) and Prosecutor General's Office issued a joint statement on alleged war crimes against civilians by Armenian.[157] During a briefing jointly held by the Azerbaijani MoFA and Prosecutor General's Office, the Azerbaijani MoFA demanded that Armenia stop shelling civilians and called on international organizations to ensure Armenia followed international law.[158] Furthermore, the Azerbaijani Ambassador to Russia Polad Bülbüloğlu denied news of mercenaries brought from Turkey by Azerbaijan.[159] Furthermore, the First Vice-President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Mehriban Aliyeva, stated that Azerbaijan had never laid claim to others' territory nor had it ever committed crimes against humanity.[160]

Alleged involvement of Turkey and SNA[edit source | edit]

Two days into the armed conflict, several pro-Turkish Syrian rebels and sources of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights[161] said that a private Turkish security company had begun signing up Syrian volunteers to fight in Artsakh.[1] The President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, also called Armenia "the biggest threat to peace in the region", and vowed to support Azerbaijan.[162] Turkish involvement in sending 200 Syrian mercenaries to support Azerbaijan forces have subsequently been at least partially confirmed.[163]

Reactions[edit source | edit]

Domestic reactions[edit source | edit]

Armenia

On 29 September, Armenia postponed the trial of the ex-President Robert Kocharyan and other former officials charged in the 2008 post-election unrest case. The reason behind it was that one of the defendants, the former Defence Minister of Armenia Seyran Ohanyan headed to Artsakh amid the Azerbaijani attack.[164]

Azerbaijan
Baku, during the curfew starting on 28 September.

On 27 September Azerbaijani authorities restricted access to the Internet across entire country shortly after the clashes began, announced the Ministry of Transport, Connections and High-Tech Technologies of Azerbaijan. According to a statement by the ministry, such a step was taken "to prevent large-scale provocations by Armenia".[165] The State Committee on Work with Diaspora of the Republic of Azerbaijan also appealed to Azerbaijanis living abroad not to use unofficial, unspecified and biased information on social networks, electronic media and other media.[166] In connection with the military situation, the National Assembly of Azerbaijan declared curfew in Baku, Ganja, Goygol, Yevlakh and a number of districts from 00:00 on 28 September.[167][168] Interior Minister Vilayet Eyvazov has been appointed the commander of the areas under curfew.[169] Also, the press service of Azerbaijan Airlines announced that all airports of the Republic of Azerbaijan will be closed for regular passenger flights until September 30.[170] Then, the Military Prosecutor's Offices of Fizuli, Tartar, Karabakh and Ganja started criminal and investigation cases in violation of the Articles 100.1 (planning, preparation or initiation of an aggressive war), 116.0.7 (attacking unprotected areas, settlements and demilitarized zones), 116.0.8 (attack on non-military, clearly visible and distinguished religious, educational, scientific, charitable, medical facilities, places where the sick and wounded are placed without military necessity), and 120.2.12 (murder with national, racial, religious hatred or hostility) of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan, on the basis of the materials collected in connection with the events."[171]

On 28 September, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev issued a decree on partial mobilization in the Republic of Azerbaijan and the State Service for Mobilization and Conscription of the Republic of Azerbaijan to ensure the conscription of military officials and the implementation of measures arising from military-transport duties in accordance with the approved plans, and the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Azerbaijan to resolve issues arising from this order.[172]

International reactions[edit source | edit]

Supranational organisations
UN member states

The governments of partially recognised Northern Cyprus, Pakistan and Turkey expressed their support for Azerbaijan, putting the blame on Armenia for violating the ceasefire.[176][177][178][179] Bosniak member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Šefik Džaferović and leader of his political party the Party of Democratic Action Bakir Izetbegović voiced their support for Azerbaijan, condemning Armenia and comparing the situation with that of Bosnian War between 1992 and 1995.[180]

Cyprus condemned "breach of the ceasefire by Azerbaijan" and any escalating actions by "parties involved, or any interventions by third parties", calling for return to peaceful negotiation.[181]

Representatives of several countries, including Albania,[182] Argentina,[183] Canada,[184] China,[185] France,[186] Georgia,[187] Germany,[176] Greece,[188] Iran,[189] Poland,[190] Romania,[191][192] Russia,[193] Saudi Arabia,[194] Turkey,[43] the United Kingdom,[195] the United States,[196] and Vatican City,[176] called for a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

See also[edit source | edit]

Notes[edit source | edit]

References[edit source | edit]

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