The second “humanitarian” truce agreed on saturday between Azerbaijan and Armenia to exchange prisoners and the bodies of dead combatants is on the way to becoming dead paper too, just like the ceasefire signed by both parties on October 10 in Moscow. The first truce was practically not fulfilled by either side, and with the second a similar scenario is observed. The Armenian and Azerbaijani forces on Sunday accused each other of violating the ceasefire It just came into effect at midnight on Saturday.
The Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan stated that the Karabakh troops continued their offensive throughout the night without stopping it for a single moment while from Yerevan they assured that, just four minutes after midnight, the Azerbaijani Army began its bombardments.
As it became clear hours later, behind the failure of this second truce appears to be the divergence between Baku and Yerevan regarding its duration. In Stepanakert, the karabakh capital, they argued that the ceasefire should be indefinite while in Baku they made it clear that the Azerbaijani troops are not willing to stop their offensive for a long time, only just enough to carry out the exchange of corpses and prisoners .
The Azerbaijani Prisoners and Missing Commission issued a statement announcing its “willingness to transfer the bodies of Armenian soldiers” through a corridor on the northern border between Armenia and Azerbaijan, in the Tovuz area, agreed with the International Committee of the Red Cross. The continuous attacks, apparently, spoiled the exchange.
However, the spokeswoman for the Armenian Ministry of Defense, Shushan, Stepanián, wrote on her Facebook account that “the situation on the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan is relatively calm. The allegations by the Azerbaijani side that Armenian units allegedly fired large-caliber weapons along the border line do not correspond to reality.
Stepanián had said Sunday morning that Azerbaijani troops launched an attack using artillery in the area of the Judaferín reservoir, near the border with Iran, “to occupy advantageous positions”, noting that there were casualties on both sides. The Azerbaijani offensive, as the country’s president, Ilham Aliev, later underlined, included the seizure of the legendary medieval Judaferin bridge over the Araz River.. From this area, the Azerbaijani forces are trying to gain control of the entire southern strip of Nagorno Karabakh.
Apparently, the bridge fell into the hands of the Azerbaijani soldiers already on Saturday, but this Sunday, Azerbaijan’s Independence Day, is when Aliyev announced it. Several neighboring countries, such as Georgia and Kazakhstan, greeted the Azerbaijanis with the colors of their flag illuminating emblematic buildings, in the case of Tbilisi the television tower.
Fight for the cities
In the same environment, Armenian and Azerbaijani forces were fighting near Hadrut and Dzhabraíl, in the southeastern part of Nagorno Karabakh. Both towns fell into Azerbaijani hands last week and the Armenians are trying to get them back. According to the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry, its Army has already managed to “liberate” 60 population centers in Nagorno Karabakh., including three cities. The conquests have taken place in the extreme northeast and southeast of the enclave.
In the meantime, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Russia, the United States and France of sending weapons to Armenia, thus fueling the spiral of violence. “Armenia violated the truce for the second time,” Erdogan declared in words collected by DPA. In his view, the fault that the conflict is heading towards a dangerous escalation lies with the three countries that preside over the Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), France, the United States and Russia, for supplying armaments to Armenia.
But Ankara has not ceased to reiterate from the moment the current hostilities began, on September 27, that it will help Azerbaijan “at the diplomatic level and also on the ground.” Turkey is also accused of sending mercenaries recruited in Syria to Nagorno Karabakh, something that, although Erdogan denies, in Moscow worries a lot. The Russian Foreign Ministry has warned of the danger posed by “terrorists” threatening the countries of the region, including Russia.