Azerbaijani army occupies another region of Nagorno-Karabakh

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BAKU, (BM) – The Azerbaijani army has entered the Kelbecer area, another territory lost by Armenian forces under a truce that ended bloody fighting over the separatist Nagorno-Karabakh enclave, Azerbaijan’s defense ministry said on Wednesday, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing Defence24.

Read more: BulgarianMilitary.com 24/7 – All about Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

Kelbecer is located in the west of Azerbaijan, west of Nagorno-Karabakh and has been under the control of Armenian forces since 1992. The armistice concluded two weeks ago through Russia stipulated that Armenia would transfer Azerbaijan control of several areas outside Nagorno-Karabakh. The first, Agdam area, was handed over last week.

Kelbecer was due to be handed over on November 15, but Azerbaijan agreed to delay the takeover at Armenia’s request. Azerbaijan officials said the worsening weather conditions made it difficult for the Armenian armed forces and the civilian population to withdraw on the only road leading through mountainous territory. This road connects Kelbecer with Armenia.

The video from Wednesday shows that Azerbaijani forces are slowly moving through the snowy terrain in search of mines. “Engineering works have been completed to ensure the movement of our units in this direction, difficult mountain roads along the route of military movement are cleared of mines and prepared for use” – informed the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense.

Before handing over Kelbecer, some Armenians leaving the region set their homes on fire “in a bitter farewell gesture,” writes the AP agency. The cessation of hostilities agreement concluded on November 9 by Pashinyan, the president of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and the Russian president Vladimir Putin means the loss of control by Armenian forces over the three Azerbaijani regions conquered 27 years ago. The Agdam district with its capital in Agdam [Askeran] came under total control of Baku on November 20. In the case of the Kelbecer’s district with the capital in Kelbecer, this was to take place on November 15, and in the Lachin region – on December 1 at the latest.

The situation in Nagorno-Karabakh escalated on September 27, active clashes are taking place in the disputed territory. Martial law was introduced in Azerbaijan and Armenia, and mobilization was announced. Both sides reported killed and wounded, including civilians. In Baku, they announced the control of several Karabakh villages and strategic heights. Yerevan also reports about the shelling of the territory of Armenia.

On November 10 the leaders of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia signed an agreement ending the war in Nagorno-Karabakh a month after its new outbreak, which returned to Baku much of the remaining Armenian-controlled territories since 1994.

This is not the final solution to the conflict, which claimed 30,000 lives at the end of the last century and an unknown number in the last month. However, with it, Armenia, which has suffered heavy losses from Azerbaijan is making radical concessions.

Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

Azerbaijan and Armenia have been in conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh since February 1988, when the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region announced its withdrawal from the Azerbaijan SSR.

During the armed conflict in 1992-1994, the Azerbaijani side lost control of Nagorno-Karabakh and the seven areas adjacent to it. Since 1992, negotiations have been conducted within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group on a peaceful settlement of the conflict. The group is led by co-chairs – Russia, USA and France.

In 1994, Azerbaijan, Armenia and the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, through the mediation of Russia, signed the Bishkek Armistice Protocol. At the same time, military operations did not stop there, which periodically renewed. The most significant exacerbation of the conflict was the four-day war of 2016. Then hundreds of soldiers on both sides became victims.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, during a meeting with the President of Azerbaijan last year, called for a rhetoric that would go against the fundamental principles endorsed by both sides and enshrined in the UN Charter and the Helsinki Final Act when resolving the situation around Nagorno-Karabakh. At the same time, the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry admitted that much more needs to be done to achieve a long-term political settlement.

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