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To whom it may concern,
It is with profound concern that we are following the deeply disturbing escalation of the conflict by Azerbaijan against Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh (Artsakh).
It is impossible to overstate the significance of these events and the extreme danger presented to the whole region if they escalate further. We are in hourly contact with friends and partners on the ground in Armenia and in Nagorno Karabakh, as well as with the Armenian Embassy in London. In Stepanakert, residents have been sheltering in bomb shelters from shells that have targeted civilian areas. There is a palpable, and given past and recent history, a justifiable fear of a potential genocide if Azerbaijan were to succeed in reclaiming the Nagorno Karabakh territory.
I attach a Statement on the latest situation for consideration and information. As you know, yesterday the Azerbaijan President vowed to fight on, whilst today Russia has offered to host peace talks. The direct involvement of Turkey against Armenia raises huge geopolitical issues and enormous fears for the Armenian people.
I hope that all who care about this dire and dangerous situation will encourage the British Government to act with the utmost urgency to pressure Azerbaijan to cease hostilities and return to the negotiating table before the situation becomes irreversible.
Personal Update and commentary on the Azeri-Armenian war
Caroline (Baroness) Cox.
October 1st, 2020.
- Situation on the ground
- Difference from previous conflicts
- Often unreported Azeri Aggression
- International Response
- The Situation on the Ground.
Source includes The Armenian Embassy in the United Kingdom.
- Azerbaijan’s large-scale aggression against Artsakh is ongoing. The President of Azerbaijan on 1st October promised to continue the offensive. The conflict is more intense in the northern part of the line of contact between Artsakh and Azerbaijan.
- On September 29, F-16 multifunctional fighter of the Turkish Air Forces, with a base in the “Ganja” airport of Azerbaijan, downed within the airspace of the Republic of Armenia in Vardenis region an SU-25 Fighter of the Armenian Armed Forces which was carrying out combat tasks to repel the attacks of Azerbaijan on military and civilian objects. Pilot of the Armed Forces of Armenia was killed.
- On 30 September, Turkey employed Turkish F-16 multifunctional aircrafts in the north-eastern and southern directions of the Defence Army of Nagorno Karabakh. Intense fighting and artillery fire continue along the entire frontline in Nagorno Karabakh. The Defence Army of Artsakh has noticeable achievements in several directions.
- The Azerbaijani Air Force conducted aerial bombing carried out with mixed battle order in the northern direction of the Artsakh Defence Army, using Turkish-made UAVs.
- The enemy air force operates at a standoff distance from air defence engagement zone. Air-to-surface long-range missiles are being used.
- For this period the Armenian side suffered 81 casualties among militaries.
- The Azerbaijani Army continues using a wide range of heavy weaponry such as tanks, armoured combat vehicles, air-to-surface long range missiles, multiple launch rocket systems, heavy flamethrower system TOS and aviation, including UAVs. Azerbaijani air forces bombarded the civilian settlements and infrastructures which has resulted in three more casualties among civilian population in Martakert region of Artsakh.
- There are also casualties in the Armed Forces of Artsakh. The Defence Army of Artsakh with strong determination is repelling the attacks of the Azerbaijani armed forces along the entire line of contact.
- Statement of the MFA of Armenia:
The Turkish air force appeared in Azerbaijan during the large-scale Turkish-Azerbaijani military drills held from July 29 to August 13 and, since then, has not been withdrawn from Azerbaijan.
- Azerbaijan has handed the command of an offensive air operation against the Republic of Artsakh over to the Turkish Air Force.
- This is not the first provocative action of the Turkish air force. Since appearing in Azerbaijan, the Turkish air force has been carrying out provocative flights along the line of contact and the Armenian-Turkish border, in some cases even crossing and violating Armenian airspace.
- Moreover, from the beginning of this offensive, Armenia has been reporting the presence of foreign mercenaries fighting from the Azerbaijani side against Artsakh.
- Difference from previous conflicts
- Turkish involvement has increased the scale of military offensives. Tukey and Azerbaijan have been engaged in joint military exercises in July and August. Enormous quantities of Turkish weapons and air force resources were left in Azerbaijan – apparently in careful preparation for launching the current war.
- Increasing evidence (BBC, Reuters, German and Russian sources) of the recruitment and mobilisation of significant numbers (it is reported, thousands) of foreign jihadist fighters from Syria and Libya were transported from Turkey to Azerbaijan.
- Russian Foreign Ministry has issued a statement demanding that third parties withdraw their mercenary terrorists from Syria and Libya.
- The scale of military offensives. This is larger, with more sophisticated weapons, than the previous conflicts since the war in the early 1990s, especially with Turkish military involvement.
- Often unreported Azeri Aggression
- The complete ethnic cleansing of Armenians living in the historic Armenia land of Nakhichevan. This historically Armenian region was transferred to Azerbaijan rule in Soviet days. Subsequently Azerbaijan carried out wholesale ethnic cleansing of all Armenians living in this land (last village in 1988) as well as destruction of famous historic Armenian cultural sites and buildings – condemned by UNESCO.
- The Armenians of Karabakh had the right, under Soviet rule, to a referendum and self-determination. As the Soviet Union broke up, this right was replaced by Azerbaijan with a wholesale military attempt to achieve ethnic cleansing of all Armenians from Karabakh.
- During a NATO language training course in Budapest in 2004, on 19 February, an Azeri officer beheaded an Armenian officer in his sleep. Condemned to life sentence in prison in Hungary, Azeri authorities requested his return to Azerbaijan where they promised he would complete his prison sentence. On arrival, he was greeted and celebrated as a hero, with promotion and other rewards – by the president no less. This betrayal of their promise and glorification of a cowardly murderer was widely condemned by the international community.
- There is widespread all-permeating Armenophobia in Azerbaijan, including teaching hatred of Armenians in their schools and kindergartens.
- International Response
The International community called on the external actors to refrain from escalating the conflict, and Turkey should heed these calls.
On September 29, Security Council members “expressed concern over reports of large-scale military actions along the Line of Contact in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone. They strongly condemn the use of force and regret the loss of life and the toll on the civilian population. Security Council members voiced support for the call by the Secretary General on the sides to immediately stop fighting, de-escalate tensions and return to meaningful negotiations without delay. Security Council members expressed their full support for the central role of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs and urged the sides to work closely with them for an urgent resumption of dialogue without preconditions”.
Armenia strongly condemns Turkey’s provocative actions and demands immediate withdrawal of the Turkish armed forces, including the air force from the conflict zone.
Armenia reiterates that there is no military solution to NK conflict. The 1994-1995 trilateral agreements on the establishment and consolidation of ceasefire regime have no time limitation and should be strictly implemented. Armenia strongly condemns the Azerbaijani aggression against Artsakh and Armenia and calls on the international community to send a clear message to Azerbaijan condemning its aggression.
1st October. Russia offers to host Peace talks.
- The provocative actions of the Turkish armed forces seriously undermine the regional security and stability and hinder the efforts of the international community for the sides to cease the hostilities.
- International community called on the external actors to refrain from escalating the conflict, and Turkey should heed these calls.
- We strongly condemn Turkey’s provocative actions and demand the immediate withdrawal of the Turkish armed forces, including the air force and jihadi terrorist mercenaries from the conflict zone.
- The direct involvement of Turkey and the scale and ferocity of this offensive raises the genuine fear of an attempt at the genocide of the Armenian people which Turkey’s highest leadership has declared in so many ways, especially since the July aggression by Azerbaijan. The revival of Ottoman rhetoric by the Turkish Government reinforces the possibility/danger of realisation of this evil intent.
- In the previous attempt by Turkey to achieve the genocide of the Armenians in 1915, the UK stood firmly against this genocide.
- The historic and recent acts of ethnic cleansing committed by Turkey and Azerbaijan mean that for the Armenians, the preservation of Artsakh is a question of survival of their people and of their spiritual, cultural and political heritage. As the Nobel Prize Sakharov put it at the outset of this conflict: “The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is a territory for Baku whereas for the Armenians of Artsakh it is fighting for their home and very existence”!
A cry from Stepanakert. 1st October 2020.
‘COVID 19 is now history for the Armenian people, something of the past. For them it is not the fear of catching the coronavirus or dying from it. It is the fear of being wounded or dying from shelling. For the last 8 months the world has been battling the coronavirus pandemic. With people in isolation, jobless, children, students deprived of education. Doctor, nurses, medical staff working 24/7. All this has caused stress, depression, fear and worldwide economic collapse. No human, person, country, government, leaders would think to start a full-scale war on another country under these conditions, only cowards like Azerbaijan and Turkey.
They have planned and executing a full-scale attack on Artsakh not taking into consideration the above is the crime of the century. And if that was not enough, they are targeting civilians, women and children, elderly the helpless. Armenians of Artsakh have once again returned to their basements for shelter from missiles coming from Azerbaijan.
Today is the fourth day of war, cities, towns villages have stopped their normal day to day life and gone to war conditions. On the hearing of the siren they flee to find protection wherever possible. Children crying, upset, frightened, elderly struggling to hold back tears. Tears which bring back the memories of the first war in 1991, the April war in 2016 and now September 2020. ”
In 1994 after a cease-fire was declared we prayed to God that our children would never see what we saw, or have to go through what we did, our prayers were not heard and our children and grandchildren experienced the tragedies of war in 2016. And now 2020 history repeats itself again, but this time it is not only our grandchildren but our great grandchildren who are victims of the in human, violent actions of Azeri aggressors, shame on you.
Many hospitals are being used to bed the wounded, the numbers many, their wounds may differ but their missions are the same – to fight for their land, defend their families, women and children from being hurt or killed from enemy shelling. Armenians are good people, if you ask anyone who has known an Armenian will tell you so. Our hearts are large but our demands are few, live peacefully on our land, soil and bring up our children as Armenians. We have that right is that not so? I ask you is this not what every person in this world wants? How are we different from others? I am sure every person would do as our soldiers are doing.
We are 3 million against 10 million but our fearless soldiers stand strong, full of pride, filled with courage ready to fight for what is ours and will remain ours. God bless our men, husband, fathers, sons, boys, we pray for their safe return with victory. World leaders, powers wake up, see what is happening. Now, make a stand, speak up. Azerbaijan and Turkey have to be punished for what they are doing.’
From Vardan 2nd October
“Hi Lola. Yes Stepanakert was hit but the centre is fine. I am in the centre but all female employees were evacuated to Armenia with their kids. The patients also evacuate to Armenia. I’m with some colleagues trying to give rehabilitation support to the different hospitals. I’ll be in touch. God bless.
Yesterday, when we were talking with a representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Stepanakert, the capital of Karabakh, bombardment had begun, and she had repeatedly to run for shelter.
This morning, we have been told that bombardment of Stepanakert continues and there is a massive build-up of Azeri forces on the border with sophisticated weaponry and massive armed forces – including, presumably, the mercenaries from Syria and Libya who were transported to Azerbaijan from Turkey.