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Armenia Violates Ceasefire By Shelling Civilian Settlements in Azerbaijan: 41 Civilians Killed, 205 Injured

By Vusala Abbasova October 12, 2020

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The Armenian armed forces targeted Azerbaijan’s second-largest city of Ganja, which is more than 60 kilometers away from the conflict zone, killing 10 Azerbaijani civilians, including 5 women, and injuring 35 innocent people, including 16 women and 6 children. / axar.az

Armenian forces have continued to shell residential areas in Azerbaijani districts, severely violating the terms of a ceasefire, which was meant to halt the fighting along the Line of Contact in the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan.

"The Armenian armed forces do not adhere to the humanitarian truce and continue inflicting rocket and artillery fire at Azerbaijan’s cities and villages located away from the area of combat operations. On October 10 and 11, at different times, the invasive troops fired at the Ganja and Mingachevir cities, as well as the villages of Goranboy, Terter, Aghdam, Aghjabedi, Fizuli, and Jabrayil regions," the Defense Ministry of Azerbaijan said in a post on its official Facebook page one day after the humanitarian ceasefire came into effect.

Today, the ministry made a similar statement about the Goranboy, Terter and Aghdam regions, which were subjected to artillery fire by Armenian forces.

The humanitarian ceasefire was agreed after 11 hours of talks between the Russian, Armenian, and Azerbaijani foreign ministers in Moscow on Friday and early Saturday. The agreement aims to put an end to hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan after two weeks of fighting over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, an internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan that remains occupied by Armenia. The deal allows for both countries to exchange captives and fallen soldiers through the mediation of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Shortly after the attacks on Aghdam and Tartar cities, the Armenian armed forces targeted Azerbaijan’s second-largest city of Ganja, which is more than 60 kilometers away from the conflict zone, killing 10 Azerbaijani civilians, including 5 women, and injuring 35 innocent people, including 16 women and 6 children.

The similar attacks were committed on the central Azerbaijani city of Mingachevir, which hosts the country's largest hydroelectric power and water reservoir, twice. However, the latest Armenian attack on Azerbaijan's fourth most populated city, which is home to the country's largest water dam, resulted in no serious damage to infrastructure and civilians thanks to prompt actions taken by the Azerbaijani forces, according to Hikmet Hajiyev, Assistant of the Azerbaijani president and Head of Foreign Policy Affairs Department of the Presidential Administration.

"Armenia launched NATO Code name "SCUD" ballistic missile to Mingachevir city of Azerbaijan from its territory. It was destroyed by our air defense forces S-300. In launchpad insulting Armenian speech sounds. Armenia's state terror must be stopped," Hajiyev tweeted on the evening of Saturday, uploading a video showing the missile launch by Armenian forces.

Officials at the National Center of Environmental Forecasting believe that the consequences of a possible strike on the Mingachevir reservoir could be catastrophic for Azerbaijan and the entire region. As a result of such an attack, water from the dam could inundate a huge territory in Azerbaijan stretching from the country's central part toward the east up to the capital Baku over 240 kilometers. Such damage could lead to environmental, infrastructure and humanitarian disasters, which could kill countless civilians.

Over the past two weeks of intense fighting between the two South Caucasus countries, Armenia's forces have launched intensive missile attacks against Barda and Beylagan. They also hit the Khizi-Absheron region near Azerbaijan’s capital Baku with mid-range missiles.

The skirmishes broke out after Armenia's forces deployed in the occupied Azerbaijani lands hit Azerbaijani civilian settlements and military positions. Since the deadly clashes erupted on September 27, Armenia's forces have constantly shelled densely populated areas, and strategically important civilian and energy infrastructure, located far from the frontline.

A total of 41 civilians in Azerbaijan have been killed, while 205 people have been injured as a result of Armenia's planned aggression against Azerbaijani civilian settlements.

Additionally, Armenian forces targeted the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline with a prohibited cluster rocket. The air defense units of Azerbaijan neutralized the missile before it reached the strategically important energy infrastructure, which transports crude oil from Azerbaijan to the markets in Europe.

Armenia's offensive along the Line of Contact prompted immediate counter-attack measures by Azerbaijani forces. The national army has so far liberated the city of Jabrayil, the settlements of Hadrut and Sugovushan, and more than thirty villages in the districts of Jabrayil, Fuzuli, Khojavand and Tartar from Armenia’s occupation.

The occupation of Azerbaijan's Nagorno-Karabakh region by Armenia came after both nations gained independence following the Soviet Union’s dissolution in 1991. Armenia launched a military campaign against Azerbaijan with the aim of occupying the Nagorno-Karabakh region. A large-scale war between the two countries lasted until a ceasefire deal was reached in 1994. As a result of the bloody war, Armenia occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s internationally recognized territories – the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts. Azerbaijan faced a humanitarian crisis during the war, in which 30,000 of its citizens were killed, while one million others were forcibly displaced from their homeland.

Although the United Nations Security Council adopted four resolutions demanding the immediate withdrawal of the occupying forces from Azerbaijani lands and the return of internally displaced Azerbaijanis to their ancestral lands, Armenia has failed to comply with all four legally binding documents.