Live Updates: Azerbaijan launches invasion against Armenia
Justin Haggerty | The Daily Knight
* Azerbaijan awakens military tensions with Armenia in July over Nagorno-Karabakh region
* Azerbaijan invasion endanger oil and gas supplies from the region
* Turkish military and President Erdogan support Azerbaijan resolve
* Russia, France urge both sides to stop firing, hold talks (Adds statement from U.S. State Department)
YEREVAN, ARMENIA - Reuters reports that "at least 16 military and several civilians were killed on Sunday [along with over 550 wounded] in the heaviest clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan since 2016, reigniting concern about stability in the South Caucasus, a corridor for pipelines carrying oil and gas to world markets."
Azerbaijan’s parliament on Sunday declared a state of war with Armenia, mentioning border violations and attacks in the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region.
The recent encroachment is a continuation of aggression and saber-rattling by Azerbaijan and their ally Turkey. In June, the Armenian National Committee of America stated that "despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and UN’s global ceasefire appeal -- which Armenia endorsed and Azerbaijan refused to sign -- Azerbaijan launched a military offensive against Armenia starting on July 12, deploying tanks, heavy artillery, and drones against civilian and military targets alike."
On July 12th and 13th, Azerbaijani forces attacked Armenia's northern province of Tavush on multiple occasions, with 4 Azerbaijani soldiers killed and 7 Azerbaijani and Armenian soldiers wounded. According to the Republic of Armenia Ministry of Defense, Azerbaijan's intermittent cross-border mortar fire continued for several days. While no Armenian civilian casualties have been reported, targets have included factories and infrastructure.
The Armenia National Committee of America continued about the saber-rattling by Azerbaijan, "the attack also comes less than two months after Azerbaijan’s Armed Forces held large-scale tactical military exercises from May 18th through 22nd." In the announcement about the exercises, the Azerbaijani army stated “massive artillery, air, and high-precision weapons will be fired at the enemy’s operational depth,” calling the exercises “offensive” in nature. The Armenian Defense Ministry condemned the exercises noting that they “exacerbate the security environment in the region, under the conditions of a global imperative for joint actions against the COVID-19 pandemic and despite the call for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to establish a global ceasefire.”
"Azerbaijani sniper attacks on Armenia's Tavush region are an ongoing occurrence, leading to multiple casualties and injuries of both Armenian civilians and military personnel," reported the Armenian National Committee of America. On March 30th a 14-year-old child in the Tavush village of Voskevan and 2 Armenian soldiers were wounded by Azerbaijani fire. On May 13th, civilians in the Tavush village of Berkaber were the target of large caliber weapons.
Futhermore, Azerbaijani military has been condemned for using civilians as human shields, placing artillery close to the village of Dondar Gushchu in the Tovuz district about six miles from the border. Azerbaijan has also launched cyberattacks on Armenian government websites.
Demonstrations were held in Baku with thousands of Azerbaijanis calling for war against Armenia. Protestors were heard chanting, “End the quarantine, start the war. Order us to war. Allahu Akbar.”
With close ethnic and cultural ties with Azerbaijan, Tukey has voiced unconditional support to Baku in the conflict. In fact, Tukey's Foreign Minister declaring, “the Republic of Turkey and the Turkish people are with Azerbaijan with all our capabilities.”
In the most recent assault in Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenian officials stated that "16 of its servicemen had been killed and more than 100 wounded after Azerbaijan launched an air and artillery attack early on Sunday. Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh declared martial law and mobilized the male population."
Reuters reported that Azerbaijan has declared martial law after retaliatory Armenian shelling. Azerbaijan also said its forces had seized control of up to seven villages. Nagorno-Karabakh initially denied this but later acknowledged losing “some positions” and said it had suffered a number of civilian casualties, without giving details.
The invasion prompted a flurry of international diplomacy to reduce the recent tensions between majority Christian Armenia and mainly Muslim Azerbaijan, with Russia and Greece calling for an immediate ceasefire and another regional power, Turkey, saying it would support Azerbaijan.
The U.S. State Department condemned the violence in a statement, calling for an immediate halt to hostilities, but remained reluctant to address any bias. In a possibly related incident, U.S. Secretary of State initiates evacuation of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad after increased threats by groups to storm the property and take hostages.
Due to economic investment and military arms deals, Israel appears to support Azerbaijan operations. This position, in addition to Turkey, will be a serious issue with NATO and the United States. European politicians like Geert Wilders has already called for the removal of Turkey from NATO.
Armenia said Azeri forces had attacked civilian targets including Nagorno-Karabakh’s capital, Stepanakert, and promised a “proportionate response," stated Reuters.
“We stay strong next to our army to protect our motherland from Azeri invasion,” Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan wrote on Twitter.
Azerbaijan denied an Armenian defense ministry statement that said Azeri helicopters and tanks had been destroyed, and accused Armenian forces of launching “deliberate and targeted” attacks along the front line.
“We defend our territory, our cause is right!” Azerbaijan’s president, Ilham Aliyev, said in an address to the nation.
Turkey said it was talking to members of the Minsk group, which mediates between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Russia, France and the United States are co-presidents.
Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke by phone to Pashinyan but no details of the conversation were available, and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan spoke to Aliyev. A Russian intervention is highly likely, not only with standing military treaties, but as Moscow continues to assert itself as the protector of Orthodox Christianity.
Erdogan, promising support for traditional ally Azerbaijan, said Armenia was “the biggest threat to peace in the region” and called on “the entire world to stand with Azerbaijan in their battle against invasion and cruelty.”
Pashinyan hit back, urged the international community to ensure Turkey does not get involved in the conflict.
The European Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) urged both sides to stop military actions and return to negotiations, as did Pope Francis, as reported by Reuters.
At least 200 people were killed in a flare-up of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan in April 2016. At least 16 people were killed in clashes in July.
Update 2:52pm EST
Azerbaijani forces on Sunday captured from Armenian rebels in breakaway Nagorny Karabakh a strategic mountain that helps control transport communications between Yerevan and the Armenian-held enclave, Azerbaijan's presidency said.
Azerbaijani forces have taken the 3,000-metre-high "strategic" Murovdag peak in Karabakh, presidency spokesman Hikmet Hajiyev told journalists.
Update 3:03pm EST
The Azerbaijani Armed Forces tried to capture Mount Mrav, but the attempt was repulsed. The mountain is still under the control of Armenia, according to the Artsakh Defense army (@Liveuamap via Twitter)
Update 5:46pm EST
The Azerbaijani MoD has released a statement claiming more than 550 casualties (dead & injured) on the Armenian side. In additon, Azerbaijan claims to have destroyed 22 tanks + other armored vehicles, 15 OSA, 18 UAVS, 8 artillery & 3 armories (@cavidaga via Twitter)
Update 6:24pm EST
MoD statement claims that an Armenian Lieutenant Colonel named Lernik Babayan has been killed near Talish. Lernik was the commander of an Armenian airborne battalion, according to the statement.
Update 7:09pm EST
Officials and local media has confirmed that two rockets related to the clashes between Armenia & Azerbaijan has hit Iran today, without causing damage or injuries.
Monday, Sept 28th (Day 2)
Update 4:40am EST
The Armenian Ambassador to Russia claims that Turkey has moved about 4,000 militants from northern Syria to Azerbaijan (Faytuks News via Twitter)
Update 6:10am EST
Vice President of Azerbaijan says that the allegations of fighters from Syria being transported to Azerbaijan are "nonsense and propaganda." (@leventkemal via Twitter)
Update 6:20am EST
Multiple Turkish news outlets are reporting that Fuzuli has been captured. In addition, Azerbaijani journalists and telegram channels are claiming that the city has been has been captured. No official confirmation yet.
Spokesperson for the president of Artsakh reports that the "Azerbaijani forces are not making any success on the frontline, despite the reports from Turkish and Azerbaijani media."
Update 7:30am EST
The number of Armenian servicemen killed in action has now risen to 59, MoD officials confirm.
Update 7:50am EST
Turkish President Erdogan says that "Armenia must immediately withdraw from occupied Azerbaijani territories," adding that, "Baku has no other choice but to take matters into own hands."
Update 8:30am EST
Press Secretary of the Armenian MoD states that they have repelled a "tank attack" launched by the Azerbaijani Armed Forces, claiming that Azerbaijan lost "more than 10 armored vehicles."
Update 9:52am EST
The city of Martuni came under heavy artillery shelling by Azerbaijani Armed Forces. (Armenia MoD)
Update 10:03am EST
Intense fighting continues along the entire front line of the Artsakh-Azerbaijan border. (Spokesperson for Armenian MoD)
Armenian Ministry of Defense says that all positions at the "southern-axis" has been restored & low-intensity clashes are currently ongoing. Intense clashes are currently happening on the "northern axis." (@liveuamap via Twitter)
Update 3:19pm EST
Armenian telegram channels are reporting that Armenians are trying to cross into Armenia from Javakheri in Georgia. However, Georgian border guards are not letting them cross.
Update 4:00pm EST
Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense denies the Armenian reports of a downed aircraft belonging to the Azerbaijani Air Force, saying that "all planes belonging to the Azerbaijani army are in service."
Update 5:22pm EST
Armenian MoD claims the following Azerbaijani losses:
- 49 UAVs/Drones
- 4 Helicopters
- 80 tanks
- 1 plane (denied by Azerbaijan)
- 82 vehicles
Update 7:30pm EST
Confirmed casualties during the first two days of fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan;
Military: 84 deaths, 200+ injuries
Civilian: 3 deaths, 30+ injuries
Military: No number released
Civilian: 8 deaths, 27 injuries
Tuesday, Sept 29th (Day 3)
Update 6:30am EST
Heavy battles continue along the NKR-Azerbaijan border. Unconfirmed reports of dozens of casualties on both sides.
Update 6:45am EST
Chief of the Azerbaijan MoD Press service says that: "As a result of the Azerbaijani Army's combat operation, Col. Artyom Pogosyan, Commander of the 9th Regiment of the 18th Modorized Rifle Division of the Armenian Army, was seriously wouded."
Update 7:00am EST
"Turkey considers attacks on Azerbaijan territory as attacks on Turkey," the deputy leader of Turkey's ruling AKP party says (RIA).
Update 7:30am EST
"According to our intelligence, the S-300 anti-aircraft missile system (SAM) covering the airspace of Armenia have been removed from combat duty and are moving toward the occupied territories Nagorno-Karabkh. They will be destroyed as soon as they enter," - Azerbaijan MoD.
Update 8:00am EST
Armenia telegram channels are reporting that the Armenian and Azerbaijani ambassadors to Russia are at a meeting at the Russian Foreign Ministry building.
Update 8:45am EST
Turkish media is reporting, quoting "security sources," that "300 PKK/YPG militants from Syria arrived in Armenia in July as part of a deal to use them against Azerbaijan at the Karabakh frontline."
Update 9:00am EST
Artsakh Defense Army claims that they have destroyed 12 tanks belonging to the Azerbaijan Armed Forces in the last 3 hours.
Update 9:40am EST
Armenia telegram channels are reporting, quoting unofficial sources, that two Turkish UAVs have been shot down near the Armenian village of Norakert.
Update 10:29am EST
Turkey and Azerbaijan denies Armenia MoD claim of a Turkish F-16 fighter jet shooting down a SU-25 over Vardenis, in sovereign Armenian territory.
Update 11:34am EST
Azerbaijani media is reporting that Armenia is shelling Tartar. One civilian has been killed; the number of Azerbaijani civilians killed reaches 13.
Update 11:45am EST
Armenia MoD: "The footage shows how the Azerbaijani TOS-IA heavy artillery systems are placed in a settlement and using the homes to cover fire and as human shields."
Update 11:59am EST
President of Azerbaijan says that "Turkey does not participate in the Karabakh conflict," claiming that "Turkey only provides moral support to Azerbaijan." Furthermore, that there are "no fighters from Syria in Nagorno-Karabakh."
Update 12:10pm EST
Armenian PM Pashinyan releases statement that "the participation of Turkish aircrafts in the conflict in Karabakh is an established fact; the international community must condemn the aggression of Turkey and Azerbaijan."
Update 3:00pm EST
Summary of Azerbaijan losses claimed by the Armenian MoD
- 72 UAVs
- 7 Helicopters
- 137 tanks/Armored vehicles
- 1 plane
- 790 deaths
- 1900 injuries
Update 6:00pm EST
AZMoD - "Azerbaijani tanks and military equipment have been destroyed in the direction of Jabrayil region."
Update 6:10pm EST
Russia remains neutral in the de facto war between Armenia and Azerbaijan - Armenian PM
Update 8:00pm EST
Armenian telegram channels are reporting that the Artsakh capital Stepanakert is being "bombed" by the Azerbaijani Armed Forces, Kamikaze drones are reportedly being used.
Wednesday, Sept 30th (Day 4)
Update 2:00am EST
Clashes along the NKR-Azerbaijan frontline has continued through the night. Multiple air raid sirens have sounded in Stepanakert, the capital of Artsakh with reports of Azerbaijani UAVs being shot down over the city.
Update 6:24am EST
Statement from the Azerbaijani MoD claims up to 2,300 Armenian casualties. In addition, Azerbaijan claims to have destroyed about 130 tanks & other armored vehicles, 200+ artillery pieces, rocket launchers & mortars -- about 25 AD systems, 6 control and command observation posts, 5 ammunition depots, about 50 anti-tank vehicles & 55 vehicles. The AZMoD also claims that during yesterday's battles 1 S-300 anti-aircraft missile system was destroyed around Shushakend (NKR).
Update 7:00am EST
Press secretary for the Armenian MoD claims that Turkish F-16s have been deployed "in the NW and then S directions of the Da."
Update 7:20:am EST
Turkey will "do what is necessary" if Azerbaijan requests support from Ankara - Turkey's Foreign Minister
Update 8:17am EST
Azerbaijan will continue military operations in Karabakh until the Armenian forces completely withdraw from the disputed territories - Azerbaijan Foreign Ministry
Azerbaijan President - Azerbaijan will restore its territorial integrity.
Update 9:00am EST
2 Syrian "National Army" sources confirm to me that a group of fighters with the SNA' Hamza Division from Kafr Halab, atl-Atareb, Ibizmo, Kafr Nouran (Aleppo countryside) under the command of Alaa' Jneid, reached Azerbaijan. 1 or 2 of them were apparently killed in action. (aElizrael via Twitter)
Thursday, Oct 1st (Day 5)