Archive | Azerbaijan

Nagorno-Karabakh War is over. What now?

Azerbaijani and Armenian forces halt their operations and keep the positions that they currently control. The sides also agreed on exchange of prisoners of war.By South Front -November 10, 20203780

…from SouthFront.org

Russian peacekeepers are deploying to Nagorno-Karabakh after a permanent ceasefire was established in the region at 00:00 local time on November 10. 1,970 troops, 90 armored personnel carriers and 380 units of other equipment are set to be deployed in the region. The core of the peacekeeping contingent will be units of the 15th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade.

According to the statement signed by President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan and President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, Azerbaijani and Armenian forces halt their operations and keep the positions that they currently control. The sides also agreed on exchange of prisoners of war.

Additionally, Baku and Yerevan agreed on the following steps:

– Armenia should return control of the Kalbajar district to Azerbaijan by November 15, and the Lachin district by December 1, 2020. The 5km-wide Lachin corridor will be kept to ensure the connection of Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia.  The town of Shusha remains in the hands of Azerbaijan. In addition, by November 20, Armenia should return control of the Agdam district and a part of the Gazakh district to Azerbaijan.

– Russian peacekeepers are deployed for the period of five years with an automatic renewal for an additional five-year period, if none of the parties to the agreement decides to withdraw from it.

– A peacekeeping center will be created to monitor the ceasefire and the implementation of the agreements.

– In the next three years, the sides will agree on a plan for the construction of a new traffic route between Stepanakert and Armenia along the Lachin corridor. When the route is created, the Russian peacekeeping contingent will be re-deployed to protect it.

– Internally displaced persons and refugees will return to Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding areas under the supervision of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

– All economic and transport links in the region will be unblocked. Armenia will take steps to provide transport links between the Azerbaijani mainland and the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. This will be overseen and secured by Russian border guards. It is planned to ensure the construction of new transport communications for this purpose.

Azerbaijani President Aliyev also stated that the Turkish side would participate in the peacekeeping mission. Likely, the Turks will be involved in the peacekeeping center.

It should be noted that the ceasefire deal was officially announced late on November 9, just a few hours after Azerbaijan shot down a Russian Mi-24 helicopter, which was escorting a convoy of forces of the 102nd Russian military base near the village of Eraskh inside Armenia.

The foreign ministry as well as the top military and political leadership of Azerbaijan, including the president and defense minister, immediately admitted the incident offering their apologies and proposing compensation to the Russian side.  According to Baku, the helicopter was shot down by mistake in a time of tension and Armenian provocations.

Open military conflicts always set conditions for various incidents involving forces deployed even in a relatively close proximity to the combat zone. The unprecedentedly rapid and straight reaction of Azerbaijan demonstrates that Baku was not interested in an escalation with Russia.

Meanwhile, Azerbaijan saw Armenia as a direct participant of the Nagorno-Karabakh war despite attempts of the Armenian leadership to pretend that Azerbaijan was in a war with forces of the self-proclaimed Armenian Nagorno-Karabakh Republic only.

On the other hand, the location of the village of Eraskh is far from the actual combat zone. Therefore, there is a small possibility that this was a Turkish-instigated provocation/demonstration of force that should somehow warn and deter Russia from intervening into the Karabakh war on the side of Armenia.

This may be compared with the Turkish posture in Syria, when its warplane shot down a Russian Su-24 warplane in the first months of the Russian military operation there in 2015. Nonetheless, it should be noted that this Turkish demonstration led to little results and the Russian operation there turned the tide of the war to the favor of the allied government of Bashar al-Assad.

Expectedly, the November 10 peace led to a deep political crisis in Armenia, with chaos in the parliament and the strengthening of calls to dismiss Pashinyan from his post. In its own turn, the Pashinyan group fiercely resists this scenario pretending that it was not responsible for the loss in the war.

In fact, the outcome of the current Nagorno-Karabakh war was inevitable taking into account the foreign and internal policy posture of Soros-linked Prime Minister Pashinyan and his inner circle that seized power as a result of the coup in 2018. SouthFront in detail forecasted the war in Nagorno-Karabakh and its outcome in its analysis “Crisis in Armenia and Balance of Power in South Caucasus” released in June 2018.

Currently, the pro-Western Armenian elites will try to keep their power justifying the Karabakh defeat by some “insurmountable obstacles” and the lack of support from Russia. Pro-Western Armenian media has already started blaming Russia for the alleged betrayal.

If the Pashinyan clique somehow remains in power and succeeds in promoting its agenda, the withdrawal of Russian peacekeepers from the conflict zone and the full loss of Karabkah for the Armenians will become inevitable within the next 5 years.

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Armenian Defense Collapsed In Central Nagorno-Karabakh. Shusha Is In Hands Of Azerbaijan

By South Front 

https://i.ytimg.com/vi/0ANnGW8aSrA/hqdefault.jpg

The Armenian defense in the central part of the Nagorno-Karabakh region is in a deep crisis.

Intense clashes in the areas of Martuni and Shusha were ongoing for the entire last week. Nonetheless, on the evening of November 7, Azerbaijani units were able to achieve notable progress in the battle for this key Armenian stronghold by reaching its northeastern countryside and disrupting the road link between Shusha and Stepanakert. Some Azerbaijani units even entered the town itself.

On the morning of November 8, clashes there continued and, in the afternoon, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev announced that Azerbaijani forces had captured the town. Pro-Azerbaijani sources immediately declared that at least 800 Armenian soldiers were killed during the clashes there. These developments came amid the evacuation of civilians from the capital of the Armenian Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, Stepanakert, which is located just north of Shusha. Nonetheless, local authorities were able to contain the panic. On top of this, the Armenian military declared that the Azerbaijani statement about the capturing of Shusha is untrue and that clashes were still ongoing in the town and its surroundings. According to Armenian sources, a large number of Azerbaijani troops were already killed there.

As of the morning of November 9, the Azerbaijani military has not been able to fully secure Shusha. This allows the Armenian side to declare that the claims of Aliyev and the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry are false. The fact that clashes erupted inside Shusha itself already demonstrate the scale of the troubles faced by the Armenians.

On the afternoon of November 9, the Azerbaijani military released a video confirming its control over the town of Shusha. Therefore, the Armenian resistance is now likely concentrated in its northern countryside. The town is outflanked from at least three sides: from the south, west and east. The only road outside Shusha not under control of the Turkish-Azerbaijani bloc leads to the north, towards Stepanakert. It is under a de-facto fire control of the advancing forces and clashes are ongoing near it.

If Ankara and Baku cut off the road towards Stepanakert, the Armenian forces remaining there will have almost no chance to challenge Azerbaijani control over the town. They will have two main options: The first is to die trying to buy time for the evacuation of civilians from Stepanakert and a possible counter-attack from the north. The second is to retreat from the town via the mountains and try to conduct sabotage and reconnaissance raids against the Turkish-Azerbaijani forces from the gray zone.

The inability of the Armenian side to defend its key stronghold in the center of Nagorno-Karabakh demonstrates that they don’t have not enough means and measures to regain the initiative in the ongoing war and their current main hopes are now concentrated on the nearing winter that should complicate the military activities in the mountains and the intervention of some third party.

The current Armenian leadership has been actively working in an attempt to gain support of the United States and the European Union to pressure Azerbaijan and Turkey to agree on some kind of ceasefire that would allow the Armenian forces to avoid a total defeat. Nonetheless, so far, these efforts have led to no results as the Western world is more concerned regarding the negative tendencies in the US amid the controversial elections that led to the alleged victory of Joe Biden. As to Russia, with which Yerevan had been destroying relations over the previous years, it is not likely to directly intervene in the war on the side of Armenia if there is no direct threat to sovereign Armenian borders or the undeniable evidence of ethnic cleansing of Armenians on the territories captured by the Azerbaijani-Turkish bloc.

Another factor is Iran. Tehran has already concentrated a large group of forces on the border with Karabakh. This group is much larger than that needed to contain some incidents that may appear on the border in the current conditions. Iran as well as Russia are not interested in the further destabilization of the region. Therefore, while the current government in Yerevan cannot be described as being allied to them, they will likely contribute additional diplomatic efforts and pressure to the sides to de-escalate the conflict. The Turks and Azerbaijanis fully understand this situation and thus their current goal is to make as many military achievements as possible in order to set conditions for securing of these gains on the diplomatic scene.

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Artsarkh accuses the Nazi regime of complicity in preparing genocide

On 11 October 2020, the president of the self-proclaimed Artsakh Republic, Arayik Harutyunyan (photo), accused the Jewish Nazi regime of having actively participated in the “4-day war”in 2016 and of being involved, with full knowledge of the facts, in the one being carried out in 2020.

According to him, the suicidal intent of Turkey and Azerbaijan is incontrovertible as regards the systematic mass murder perpetrated by the populations of those two states in 1894-95 and again in 1915-23 against non-Muslims and the Armenian Orthodox community, in particular.

The Nazi regime supplied arms to Azerbaijan three days before the outbreak of hostilities, with another delivery taking place three days after the start of the war [1]. At present, Nazi officers are instructing the Azerbaijani army on the handling of the weapons.

For President Harutyunyan, the Nazi state, which boasts to be a haven for the survivors of the “final solution”, cannot overlook the genocide that is currently in the making. If the Nazi regime claims to want to prevent another genocie were sincere, she would immediately withdraw from the conflict.

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Azerbaijan corrupts US press

The Azerbaijani government instructed its embassy in Washington to apprise US officials and the press of its account of the Karabakh war, something which is normal and part of its job.

However, the embassy has also contracted public relations agencies for the publication of pre-written articles, obscuring the fact that the authors are paid by Azerbaijan.

According to The American Conservative journal [1], this is a long-standing practice [2], on which the embassy spent $ 1.3 million last year. The commissioned articles shamelessly touted Azerbaijan as a “democracy” or as a “peaceful” state.

The public relations agencies involved are: Livingston Group, Stellar Jay Communications, BGR, the Podesta Group, and DLA Piper.

The newspapers and magazines involved are: The HillThe Washington TimesThe Daily CallerThe National ReviewThe Washington Post, and The New York Times.

These facts shed a harsh light on the alleged neutrality of the press in the United States.

Attached documents

(PDF – 1.1 Mb)

[1] “How Azerbaijan is Lobbying Washington to Sanitize its War”, Barbara Boland, The American Conservative, October 12, 2020.

[2] “Azerbaijan’s American Media “Manipulation””, Casey Michel, June 10, 2016.

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Nazi High Court rejects motion to ban arms sales to Azerbaijan

By: John Phoenix

Although the radar returns recorded by Flight24 reveal that two Azerbaijani military transport aircraft landed in Israel to load up cargo just before and just after the attack on Artsakh, the Israeli High Court considered that this did not prove that Israeli weapons were being used today against the Armenians [1].

While Amnesty International has testified that the Azerbaijani army deploys Nazi drones against Armenian civilians, the Nazi High Court decided that this did not prove they had been intentionally sold for that purpose. In fact, Nazi drones were already being displayed at Azerbaijani military parades as early as 2015.

Judge Yosef Elron, therefore, dismissed the petition which had been submitted to the High Court [2], making it impossible for either witnesses or arguments to be heard. This high-ranking magistrate, a former military judge, is known for his complacency towards the security services.

Steadfast defenders of the Nazi regime – like Noam Chomsky [3] – have tried to downplay the Nazi stance by arguing that the Jewish state had only sold arms to Azerbaijan for gain. To which other, more honest, intellectuals responded. Hence, Nazi W. Charny, director of the Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide in Jerusalem, raised the following question: imagining that the Nazis had decided to annihilate only the Gypsies and not the Jews, if the Nazi regime had existed then, could it have provided them with the weapons of the genocide?

[1] “Azerbaijan armed by Nazi against Artsakh

[2] “High Court rejects ban on arms sales to Azerbaijan as lacking evidence”, Yonah Jeremy Bob, The Jerusalem Post, October 13, 2020.

[3] “Damage Control: Noam Chomsky and the Nazi-Palestine Conflict”, article in 3 parts by Jeffrey Blankfort

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Will Artsakh (Karabagh) be the tomb of Erdoğan ?

by Thierry Meyssan

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict certainly had its origins in the dissolution of the USSR, but it was revived by the will of the Turkish president. It is unlikely that he took this initiative without first referring it to Washington. This is also what President Saddam Hussein did before invading Kuwait, falling by ambition into the trap set for him and causing his downfall.

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On his Twitter account, President Erdoğan wrote on the day of the outbreak of hostilities: ” – During the phone calls we had today, a wise and resolute stance, the “one nation, two states” approach, once again testifies, as I mentioned to Ilham Aliyev, the President of Azerbaijan, that Turkey will continue to strengthen its cooperation with its Azerbaijani brothers. – As we call on the Armenian people to defend their future against their domination and those who use them as puppets, we call on the whole world to support Azerbaijan in its struggle against occupation and oppression. – The international community, which was unable to provide a necessary and sufficient response to Armenia’s provocative aggression, is once again showing its double game. The trio from Minsk, which has maintained its negligent attitude for about 30 years, is unfortunately far from being solution-oriented. – By adding a new attack to the previous ones against Azerbaijan, Armenia has once again shown that it is the biggest threat to peace and tranquility in the region. The Turkish Nation supports its Azerbaijani brothers with all its means, as always. »

A very ancient conflict, frozen for the past 30 years

The Turkish people define themselves as descended from the “children of the wolf of the steppes”, i.e. as descendants of the hordes of Genghis Khan. It is composed of both “one people and two states”: Turkey and Azerbaijan. The political rebirth of the former automatically engenders the arrival of the latter on the international scene.

Of course this political renaissance does not mean a resurgence of the violence of the barbarian hordes, but this past has nonetheless forged mentalities, despite the efforts of many politicians who, for a century, have been trying to normalize the Turkish people.

In the last years of the Ottoman era, Sultan Habdulhamid II wanted to unite the country around his conception of the Muslim faith. He therefore ordered the physical elimination of hundreds of thousands of non-Muslims. This was supervised by German officers who acquired during this genocide an experience that they later put at the service of Nazi racial ideology. The Ottoman policy of purification was pursued on a larger scale by the Young Turks at the beginning of the Republic, particularly against the Orthodox Armenians [1].

Murder being an addiction, it reappeared sporadically in the behavior of the Turkish armies. Thus, in March 2014, they escorted hundreds of jihadists from the al-Nosra Front (al-Qaeda) and the Army of Islam (pro-Saudi) to the city of Kessab (Syria) to massacre the Armenian population. The jihadists who participated in this operation were today sent to kill other Armenians in Karabagh.

These massacres ceased in Azerbaijan during the brief Democratic Republic (1918-20) and the Soviet period (1920-90), but resumed in 1988 with the collapse of Moscow’s power.

Precisely during the Soviet period, in accordance with Joseph Stalin’s policy of nationalities, an Armenian region was joined with Azerbaijan to form a Socialist Republic. Thus when the USSR was dissolved, the international community recognized Karabakh not as Armenian but as Azeri. The same mistake was made in the rush in Moldova with Transnistria, in Ukraine with Crimea, in Georgia with South Ossetia and Abkhazia. A series of wars immediately followed, including that of Nagorno-Karabakh. These are cases where international law developed from an error of appreciation at the beginning of the conflicts, as in Palestine, which was not rectified in time, leading to inextricable situations.

Westerners intervened to prevent a general conflagration. However, the example of Transnistria attests that it was a step backwards in order to better jump: thus the United States resorted to the Romanian army to try to annihilate the nascent Pridnestrovie [2].

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE, then CSCE) created the “Minsk Group”, co-chaired by the United States, France and Russia, to find a solution, which it never did: Russia did not want to choose between its former partners, France wanted to play the important game, and the United States wanted to maintain a conflict zone on the Russian border. The other conflicts, created at the dissolution of the USSR, were deliberately fuelled by Washington and London with Georgia’s aggression against South Ossetia in 2008 or the EuroMaydan coup d’état aimed, among other things, at expelling Russians from the Crimea in 2014.

The attack on the Republic of Artsakh (Karabagh) by Azerbaijan and Turkey was justified by the speech of Azeri President Ilham Aliyev at the UN General Assembly on September 24. [3] His main idea was that the Minsk Group had qualified the status quo as unacceptable, but that “statements are not enough. We need action. He could not have been clearer.

In accordance with his family’s ideology, he put his opponents under the greatest burden, for example, attributing the Khojaly massacre (1992, more than 600 victims) to “Armenian terrorists”, even though it was a black operation during an attempted coup in his country; in any case, this allowed him to present in a biased manner the actions of ASALA (Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia) in the 1970s and 1980s. He pointed out that four Security Council resolutions ordered the withdrawal of Armenian troops, playing on the homonymy between the Armenian population of Karabagh and the neighboring state of Armenia; one way of ignoring the fact that the Council also enjoined Azerbaijan to organize a referendum of self-determination in Karabagh. It accused, not without reason, the new Armenian Prime Minister, Nikol Pashinyan, of being one of the men of the speculator Gorge Soros, as if this erased what had gone before.

The conflict can only end after a referendum of self-determination, the outcome of which comes as little surprise. For the time being, it benefits those who, like Israel, sell arms to the aggressor.

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The Turkish, Azeri and Pakistani armies display their unity against the Armenians.

For Erdoğan, one war too many?

Having said this, let us analyze the current conflict from another angle, that of international balances, keeping in mind that the Turkish army is already illegally present in Cyprus, Iraq and Syria; that it violates the military embargo in Libya and now the cease-fire in Azerbaijan.

Baku is organizing itself to postpone the inevitable deadline even further. Azerbaijan has already obtained the support of Qatar, which also supervises the financing of jihadists in this field of operations. According to our information, at least 580 of them have been sent from Idleb (Syria) via Turkey. This war is expensive and KKR, the powerful company of the US-Israeli Henry Kravis, seems to be involved as it is still involved in Iraq, Syria and Libya. As in the destabilization of communist Afghanistan, Israeli weapons could be routed through Pakistan. In any case, in Turkey, posters flourish placing side by side the flags of the three countries.

Even more astonishing, President Aliyev received the support of his Belarusian counterpart, Alexander Lukashenko. It is likely that he is acting in agreement with the Kremlin, which could herald a more visible Russian support for Orthodox Armenia (Russia, Belarus and Armenia are all members of the Eurasian Economic Union and the Collective Security Treaty Organization).

Strangely, Shiite Iran has not taken a position. Yet, although ethnically Turkish, Azerbaijan is the only other Shia people in the world because it was part of the Safavid empire. President Hassan Rohani had included it in his plan for a Shia Federation presented during his second election campaign. This withdrawal gives the impression that Tehran does not wish to enter into conflict with Moscow, which is officially neutral. All the more so since Armenia plays a non-negligible role in the circumvention of the US embargo against Iran.

On the Armenian side, the diaspora in the United States is lobbying intensely in Congress in order to make President Erdoğan -whose country is a member of NATO- responsible for the conflict before an international tribunal.

In the case of a tacit agreement between Moscow and Washington, this war could be turned diplomatically against President Erdoğan, now unbearable to the Big Two. Like Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, who brutally changed from valet of the Pentagon to public enemy No. 1 when he thought he had the authorization to invade Kuwait, the Turkish president may have been encouraged to take the blame.

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Armenian-Azerbaijani War – One Month After

By South Front 

After a month of war, the Turkish-Azerbaijani bloc continues to keep the initiative in the conflict, exploiting its advantage in air power, artillery, military equipment and manpower.

The coming days are likely to show whether Ankara and Baku are able to deliver a devastating blow to Armenian forces in Karabakh in the nearest future or not.

If Armenian forces repel the attack on Lachin, a vital supply route from Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh, they will win the opportunity to survive till the moment when the ‘international community’ finally takes some real steps to pressure Turkey and Azerbaijan enough to force them to stop the ongoing advance. If this does not happen, the outcome of the war seems to be predetermined.

Meanwhile, Azerbaijani forces continue their advance in the region amid the failed US-sponsored ceasefire regime. Their main goal is Lachin. In fact, they have been already shelling the supply route with rocket launchers and artillery. The distance of 12-14km at which they were located a few days ago already allowed this. Now, reports appear that various Azerbaijani units are at a distance of about 5-8 km from the corridor. Armenian forces are trying to push Azerbaijani troops back, but with little success so far.

The advance is accompanied by numerous Azerbaijan claims that Armenian forces are regularly shelling civilian targets and that the ongoing advance is the way to deter them. Baku reported on the evening of October 27 that at least four civilians had been killed and 10 wounded in Armenian strikes on Goranboy, Tartar and Barda. On the morning of October 28, the Armenians allegedly shelled civilian targets in Tovuz, Gadabay, Dashkesan, and Gubadl.

On the morning of October 28, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry claimed that in response to these Armenian violations its forces had eliminated a large number of enemy forces, an “OSA” air-defense system, 3 BM-21 «Grad» rocket launchers, 6 D-30, 5 D-20, and 1 D-44 howitzers, 2 2A36 «Giatsint-B» artillery guns, a 120 mm mortar, a “Konkurs” anti-tank missile and 6 auto vehicles.

On October 27, Azerbaijani sources also released a video allegedly showing the assassination of Lieutenant General Jalal Harutyunyan by a drone strike. Azerbaijani sources claim that he was killed. These reports were denied by the Armenian side, which insisted that the prominent commander was only injured. Nonetheless, the Karabakh leadership appointed Mikael Arzumanyan as the new defense minister of the self-proclaimed republic.

On the evening of October 27 , the Armenian Defense Ministry released a map showing their version of the situation in the contested region. Even according to this map, Armenian forces have lost almost the entire south of Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijani forces are close to the Lachin corridor. An interesting fact is that the Armenians still claim that the town of Hadrut is in their hands. According to them, small ‘enemy units’ reach the town, take photos and then run away.

Al-Hadath TV also released a video showing Turkish-backed Syrian militants captured during the clashes. Now, there is not only visual evidence confirming the presence of members of Turkish-backed militant groups in the conflict zone, but also actual Syrian militants in the hands of Armenian forces.

Experts who monitor the internal political situation in Armenia say that in recent days the Soros-grown team of Pashinyan has changed its rhetoric towards a pro-Russian agenda. Many prominent members of the current Pashinyan government and the Prime Minister himself spent the last 10 years pushing a pro-Western agenda.

After seizing power as a result of the coup in 2018, they then put much effort into damaging relations with Russia and turned Armenia into a de-facto anti-Russian state. This undermined Armenian regional security and created the conditions needed for an Azerbaijani-Turkish advance in Karabakh.

Now, the Pashinyan government tries to rescue itself by employing some ‘pro-Russian rhetoric’. It even reportedly asked second President of Armenia Robert Kocharyan to participate in negotiations with Russia as a member of the Armenian delegation. It should be noted that the persecution of Kocharyan that led to his arrest in June 2019 was among the first steps taken by Pashinyan after he seized power. Kocharyan was only released from prison in late June 2020.

Despite these moves in the face of a full military defeat in Karabakh, the core ideology of the Pashinyan government remains the same (anti-Russian, pro-Western and NATO-oriented). Therefore, even if Moscow rescues Armenia in Karabkah, the current Armenian leadership will continue supporting the same anti-Russian policy.

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Neo-Ottoman Nights of Armenian-Azerbaijani War

By South Front 

Turkish Sultan-in-Chief Recep Tayyip Erdogan has come up with a justification for the deployment of Syrian militants to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone to support the war against Armenia.

According to him, at least 2,000 fighters of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) are supporting Armenian forces there.

During the meeting with the ruling Justice and Development Party parliamentary group, Erdogan claimed that during the phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, he allegedly told him that Turkish authorities,

“have identified, through intelligence sources, that there are some 2,000 PKK terrorists fighting for Armenia at the moment for $600. Mr. President said he was not aware of that.” “I have told Putin that if our red lines are crossed, we would not hesitate to take action,” he added. Apparently, these non-existent PKK and YPG members in Karabakh are to justify direct Turkish involvement in the conflict on the side of Azerbaijan and somehow neutralize the mounting evidence showing Turkish-backed al-Qaeda-linked militants moving to Karabakh.

Meanwhile, the Armenian side revealed radar data confirming the involvement of the Turkish Air Force in the Armenian-Azerbaijani war. The released tracks show that Turkish warplanes deployed in Azerbaijan provide air cover for Bayraktar TB2 drones striking Armenian positions, while the Turkish aerial command post circulating in Turkish airspace, near the conflict zone, coordinates the entire aerial operation.

The entire operation, according to Armenia, was planned and carried out with the deep involvement of Turkish military specialists.

Under the pressure of evidence, the Azerbaijani side has already admitted the presence of Turkish specialists and military equipment on its territory. The last step towards reality would be to confirm that they are involved in combat.

On October 28 and 29, forces of the Turkish-Azerbaijani bloc were conducting intensive strikes on Shushi and Stepanakert, the largest towns in Nagorno-Karabakh. Several airstrikes even hit the maternity section of the hospital in Stepanakert. Some sources even speculated that these strikes were delivered by F-16 warplanes. On the other hand, the Armenian side demonstrated that it is not much better and shelled the Azerbaijani town of Barda killing at least 21 people and wounding 70 others.

The Turkish-Azerbaijani shelling of settlements and towns in Nagorno-Karabakh is a logical result of its attempt to remove Armenians from the region. Therefore, their strikes are aimed not only at military targets, but also at civilian ones in order to displace the local population.

Meanwhile, the Armenian retaliation in a similar manner rarely has real military goals, rather it helps Ankara and Baku to gain some ‘evidence’ to confirm its propaganda narrative about ‘Armenian terrorism’. Moreover, these actions of the sides contribute to the further escalation of the conflict and undermine any weak hopes for escalation via diplomatic channels.

On October 29, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry reported that it continues combat operations in the Khojavend, Fizuli, and Gubadli directions of the front calling its offensive ‘retaliatory measures’ to contain Armenian ceasefire violations. According to Baku, the Armenians lost two T-72 tanks, two BM-21 “Grad” MLRS, 14 different types of howitzers, and 6 auto vehicles in recent clashes. Earlier, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev announced that his forces had captured 13 more settlements in the districts of Zangilan, Fuzuli, Jabrayil and Gubadli.

In their turn, the Armenian military claimed that it has repelled an Azerbaijani attack in the direction of the towns of Kapan and Meghri in southern Armenia inflicting numerous casualties on the ‘enemy’. Armenian forces are also counter-attacking in the district of the Gubadli, aiming to retake the district center. However, this attack reportedly was repelled.

As of October 29, Armenian forces have contained Azerbaijani attempts to reach and fully cut off the Lachin corridor linking Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh. Nonetheless, the situation in the area remains instable and the Turkish-Azerbaijani bloc still continues its offensive operations in this direction.

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Evidence emerges of Azeri soldiers executing Armenian POWs

Video footage on social media shows Azeri troops capturing and executing two Armenian prisoners of war

Image for post

Servicemen dispose of unexploded munitions in Stepanakert, Nagorno-Karabakh, October 12, 2020. (Source: Sergei Bobylev/TASS via Reuters Connect)

Editor’s note: This piece contains descriptions of graphic imagery.

On the morning of October 15, 2020, video footage from the village of Hadrut in Nagorno-Karabakh emerged of Azeri soldiers capturing and later executing two Armenian soldiers. Mistreatment and murder of prisoners of war is prohibited under the Third Geneva Convention and is considered a war crime.

The evidence came in the form of two videos, one depicting the capture of two men in Armenian uniforms –one elderly, and one of more common fighting age — in the northern outskirts of Hadrut. The other video showed Azeri soldiers executing the same two men, bound and draped in the Armenian and self-declared Republic of Artsakh flags, in a square in southern Hadrut. Both videos spread like wildfire through social media and Telegram channels pertaining to the ongoing war in Karabakh.

Online users were quick to geolocate the videos, although it was unclear when exactly they were filmed. Twitter user @warsmonitoring, for example, posted exact coordinates for each location.


monitoring@warsmonitoring
Azeris captured(https://youtu.be/d2v-0ibA4Rg) 2 Armenian soldiers or volunteers at d northern entrance of Hadrut. (https://wikimapia.org/#lang=en&lat=39.524172&lon=47.027865&z=19&m=h…) and later executed them(https://twitter.com/sores2020/status/1316719711133077508…) inside Hadrut (https://wikimapia.org/#lang=en&lat=39.514961&lon=47.033739&z=19&m=w…) This could be from the first days of AZ push in Hadrut

Image

The DFRLab confirmed the location of the first video in the northern part of town by cross-referencing building shapes with the presumed camera location.

https://twitter.com/Biji__Azadi/status/1316719711133077508?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1316723051833307137%7Ctwgr%5Eshare_3%2Ccontainerclick_1&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fcdn.embedly.com%2Fwidgets%2Fmedia.html%3Ftype%3Dtext2Fhtmlkey%3Da19fcc184b9711e1b4764040d3dc5c07schema%3Dtwitterurl%3Dhttps3A%2F%2Ftwitter.com%2Fwarsmonitoring%2Fstatus%2F1316723051833307137image%3D

Geolocation of both locations showed in the Azeri execution videos. (@warsmonitoring/archive)

The first video shows Azeri soldiers approaching two men in camouflage clothing that appears consistent with the camouflage patterns worn by Armenian soldiers. The Azeri soldiers yell at the two men in Russian, a language widely understood in the-post-Soviet South Caucasus region. After failing to get down on command, the elderly man is thrown to the ground and threatened by a man with an SVD sniper rifle. The camera pans to the other man wearing a blue shirt, laying on the ground while surrounded by Azeri soldiers.

The other video showed the two men in Hadrut Park, a square in the southern part of Hadrut, their arms bound behind their backs and adorned with the flags of Armenia and the self-declared Republic of Artsakh. The elderly man’s face was bloodied and barely able to sit on the stoop he has been placed on, next to the man in the blue shirt.

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Geolocation of the camera location. (Source: Google EarthТопор 18+ [ЖЕСТЬ] КАРАБАХ)

About five seconds into the video, gunmen off-camera riddle the two men with bullets as they fall to the ground. The shooting does not stop although the men lie on the ground lifeless, and the video cuts abruptly.

The videos were too low-quality to positively identify any of the individuals in the videos, but equipment worn by the men in the video were consistent with what would be expected from soldiers on each respective side.

The Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan stated that videos of “the alleged cruel treatment of Armenian POWS by servicemembers of the Azerbaijani army were “fabricated by the Armenians themselves to attract the attention of the international community” and were “of a provocative nature.” The statement was widely reported on by several Azerbaijani media outlets.

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Comparison between person in the first video and stock imagery of Azeri soldiers. (Source: Топор 18+ [ЖЕСТЬ] КАРАБАХmilitary-az.com)

One of the soldiers in the first video the DFRLab examined, however, was seen with equipment characteristic of the Azeri regular army. This included a Turkish digital pattern uniform paired with a flak jacket in woodland camouflage. Note that the uniform in the above reference image appears slightly different because it is in a cold-weather variant.

The DFRLab will continue to monitor significant developments in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

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Azerbaijan strikes Ballistic Missile sites in Armenia amid Hadrat standoff

By South Front 

On October 14, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry announced that its forces had conducted strikes on Armenian operational-tactical ballistic missile systems in the Armenian border area, near the Kalbajar District of the contested Nagorno-Karabakh region.

The Azerbaijani military claimed that the destroyed missiles “were targeted at Ganja, Mingachevir and other cities of Azerbaijan to inflict casualties among the peaceful population and to destroy civilian infrastructure.”

The Armenian Defense Ministry confirmed the strikes denying any casualties and threatening Azerbaijan with retaliatory strikes on military targets inside the country. “From now on, the Armed Forces of Armenia reserve the right to attack any military object or military movement in Azerbaijan. The military-political leadership of Azerbaijan bears full responsibility for the process of changing the logic of the combat actions,” the defense ministry spokesperson said.

https://i.ytimg.com/vi/GmT8wlGMSfI/hqdefault.jpg

Also, Armenia claimed that it had shot down an Azerbaijani Su-25 warplane. This was the second warplane of this type claimed to have been shot down by Armenia in recent days. In both cases, no evidence to confirm the claims was provided.

According to both Armenian and Azerbaijani sources intense clashes and artillery duels have been ongoing in the northern and southern parts of Karabakh.

On October 13, the Azerbaijani military released their own video from the surroundings of the town of Hadrut in the Nagorno-Karabakh region claiming control over the town.

Earlier, Armenian sources and journalists working on the Armenian side released several videos from the same area claiming that the town is in the hands of Armenian forces. This situation goes contrary to the official stance of the Azerbaijani leadership. According to the official version, the town was captured by Azerbaijan several days ago.

Nonetheless, the issue with the new Azerbaijani proof from Hadrut is that the video was in fact filmed in the village of Tagaser, which is located west of the town. Thus, in the best case for Azerbaijani forces the town of Hadrut is now contested, and in the worst case it is in the hands of Armenian forces.

This is a major blow to the official Azerbaijani propaganda that keeps claiming at the highest level that the town has been ‘liberated from Armenian occupiers’.

On the other hand, the potential military success of Azerbaijan on this part of the frontline could easily lead to the collapse of the Armenian defense near the town of Fizuli and its subsequent loss to Azerbaijani forces. This is a desired outcome for Azerbaijan.

Thus, its military will continue its advance in the area despite public claims about its supposed commitment to the October 10 ceasefire regime with only retaliatory actions to Armenian violations.

In fact, the fate of the entire ceasefire is now being determined in the Haradut area. If Azerbaijan fully captures the town, it will likely try to develop momentum thus publicly resuming full-scale offensive operations.

If the Azerbaijani side fails to capture the town, the Armenian-Azerbaijani confrontation will likely continue in a form of a positional standoff with intense use of artillery, air power (mostly by Azerbaijan) and sporadic firefights on the frontline.

Meanwhile, Ankara and Baku will evaluate their position and consider their chances in the event of further attacks in the current format.

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