Azerbaijani Army Advances Towards Fuzuli Amid Evacuation Of Armenians From Karabakh
The Azerbaijan army’s counter-offensive operation that started in the early hours of September 27 to de-occupy lands under Armenia’s control for nearly 30 years, has entered the third day on September 29 with units of the national army advancing towards Fuzuli city.
September 28 saw unprecedented intensity of artillery fire and the first tank battle in the southeastern direction. Throughout the day, Azerbaijan reported about destroying of Armenian tanks and armored vehicle as well as killing of nearly 550 servicemen.
For its part, the defense department of the breakaway region claimed “destruction of 10 Azerbaijani combat vehicles”, which was later flatly denied by the country’s Defense Ministry.
On September 29, Azerbaijan said it destroyed four more tanks of the Armenian army in the Fuzuli-Cabrayil direction of the front.
The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry also added that units of the Azerbaijani army destroyed the third Martuni motorized rifle regiment of the Armenian armed forces, stationed in the occupied Xocavand District. The regiment suffered heavy losses in manpower and military equipment and was completely destroyed, he said, adding that the command of the enemy army appealed to everyone for help in providing vehicles for the removal of killed and wounded soldiers.
In another development, responding to fake reports of Armenia about retaking of positions along the perimeter of the front, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said that their counter-offensive attempts were suppressed.
"The enemy's attempts to counter-attack have been suppressed," Vaqif Dargahli, spokesman for the Defense Ministry said. He added that the enemy's attempt to assault Azerbaijani positions from the direction of the occupied Asagi Veysalli village of Fizuli District was resolutely suppressed by units of the national army and the enemy was forced to retreat, leaving behind bodies of the killed Armenian soldiers on the battlefield.
In another direct strike, a command and observation post of the Armenian army was destroyed, the ministry spokesman added. “A precision strike destroyed the command and observation post of the third battalion of the first regiment of the Armenian army in the direction of Hadrut in Xocavand District," he said.
Merkel calls Aliyev
As Azerbaijan has launched a counter-offensive for the liberation of its lands, intensive diplomatic traffic followed immediately.
Presidents of European nations and heads of international organizations, who never for 30 years showed an interest in the resolution of the conflict, began to call for a halt to the military activities to resolve the Karabakh problem peacefully.
On September 29, German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a phone conversation with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev discussed Armenia’s latest aggression.
“German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed her country’s concern over the armed clashes on the line of contact between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and inquired about the course of events,” official Azartac news agency said.
The Azerbaijani president noted that in the morning of September 27, Armenia committed a military provocation against Azerbaijan and shelled military units, towns and villages of Azerbaijan along the line of contact using heavy artillery, as a result of which Azerbaijani servicemen, 10 civilians, including two children were killed, 29 civilians were wounded, 150 houses were destroyed during two days.
The president recalled that previously Armenia committed military provocations against Azerbaijan in July-August as well, killing Azerbaijani servicemen and civilians and that these provocations were a continuation of Armenia's policy of aggression against Azerbaijan.
Ilham Aliyev added that the Armenian prime minister’s statement "Karabakh is Armenia. Point." made the negotiation process senseless, and that the Armenian leadership’s demand that Azerbaijan negotiate with the self-styled "Nagorno-Karabakh republic" should be assessed as an attempt to change the format of negotiations. At the same time, the head of state said that the Armenian defense minister had threatened Azerbaijan with a new war for new territories, adding that this plan was being implemented in reality.
lham Aliyev also added that Armenia was conducting a policy of illegal settlement of foreign citizens in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, which is a gross violation of international law under the Geneva Convention, adding that it is considered a war crime.
Separatists evacuate civilians from Xankandi (Stepanakert)
A spontaneous evacuation of residents from Xankandi has begun, an Izvestia correspondent reported on September 29. According to him, people are being massively sent to Armenia.
Russian State Duma anxious
Russia’s State Duma called on Armenia and Azerbaijan to return to the negotiations process as soon as possible and said that it was ready to mediate in stabilizing the situation, the press service of the Duma said.
The State Duma expressed concern over the sharp escalation of the conflict and numerous human casualties and condemned the use of force by the parties.