First Nagorno-Karabakh War

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This article is about the armed conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region between 1988 and 1994. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_0

For the 2020 armed conflict, see 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_1

First Nagorno-Karabakh War_table_infobox_0

First Nagorno-Karabakh WarFirst Nagorno-Karabakh War_header_cell_0_0_0
Date20 February 1988 – 12 May 1994

(6 years, 2 months, 3 weeks and 1 day)LocationNagorno-Karabakh, Armenia and AzerbaijanResult Armenian victory

Territorial changes De facto independence of Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh Republic) and de facto unification with Armenia.First Nagorno-Karabakh War_cell_0_1_0

DateFirst Nagorno-Karabakh War_header_cell_0_2_0 20 February 1988 – 12 May 1994

(6 years, 2 months, 3 weeks and 1 day)First Nagorno-Karabakh War_cell_0_2_1

LocationFirst Nagorno-Karabakh War_header_cell_0_3_0 Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenia and AzerbaijanFirst Nagorno-Karabakh War_cell_0_3_1
ResultFirst Nagorno-Karabakh War_header_cell_0_4_0 Armenian victoryFirst Nagorno-Karabakh War_cell_0_4_1
Territorial

changesFirst Nagorno-Karabakh War_header_cell_0_5_0

De facto independence of Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh Republic) and de facto unification with Armenia.First Nagorno-Karabakh War_cell_0_5_1
BelligerentsFirst Nagorno-Karabakh War_header_cell_0_6_0
Arms supply:


Foreign groups:First Nagorno-Karabakh War_cell_0_7_0

Arms supply:


Foreign groups:First Nagorno-Karabakh War_cell_0_7_1

Commanders and leadersFirst Nagorno-Karabakh War_header_cell_0_8_0
First Nagorno-Karabakh War_cell_0_9_0 First Nagorno-Karabakh War_cell_0_9_1
StrengthFirst Nagorno-Karabakh War_header_cell_0_10_0
30,000—40,000 (1993–94)First Nagorno-Karabakh War_cell_0_11_0 42,600–56,000 (1993–94)First Nagorno-Karabakh War_cell_0_11_1
Casualties and lossesFirst Nagorno-Karabakh War_header_cell_0_12_0
First Nagorno-Karabakh War_cell_0_13_0 First Nagorno-Karabakh War_cell_0_13_1

The First Nagorno-Karabakh War was an ethnic and territorial conflict that took place from the late 1980s to May 1994, in the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh in southwestern Azerbaijan, between the majority ethnic Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh backed by Armenia, and the Republic of Azerbaijan. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_2

As the war progressed, Armenia and Azerbaijan, both former Soviet Republics, entangled themselves in protracted, undeclared mountain warfare in the mountainous heights of Karabakh as Azerbaijan attempted to curb the secessionist movement in Nagorno-Karabakh. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_3

The enclave's parliament had voted in favor of uniting itself with Armenia and a referendum, boycotted by the Azerbaijani population of Nagorno-Karabakh, was held, whereby most of the voters voted in favor of independence. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_4

The demand to unify with Armenia began in a relatively peaceful manner in 1988; in the following months, as the Soviet Union disintegrated, it gradually grew into an increasingly violent conflict between Armenians and Azerbaijanis, resulting in ethnic cleansing, with the Sumgait (1988) and Baku (1990) pogroms directed against Armenians, and the Khojaly Massacre (1992) directed against Azeris being notable examples. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_5

Inter-ethnic clashes between the two broke out shortly after the parliament of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast (NKAO) in Azerbaijan voted to unify the region with Armenia on 20 February 1988. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_6

The declaration of secession from Azerbaijan was the final result of a territorial conflict regarding the land. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_7

As Azerbaijan declared its independence from the Soviet Union and removed the powers held by the enclave's government, the Armenian majority voted to secede from Azerbaijan and in the process proclaimed the unrecognized Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_8

Full-scale fighting erupted in early 1992. International mediation by several groups including the Conference for Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE) failed to bring an end resolution that both sides could work with. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_9

In early 1993, Armenian forces captured seven Azerbaijani-majority districts outside the enclave itself, threatening the involvement of other countries in the region. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_10

By the end of the war in 1994, the Armenians were in full control of the enclave, in addition to surrounding Azerbaijani territories, most notably the Lachin Corridor - a mountain pass that links Nagorno-Karabakh with mainland Armenia. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_11

A Russian-brokered ceasefire was signed in May 1994, but regular peace talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan mediated by the OSCE Minsk Group have failed to result in a peace treaty. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_12

This has left the Nagorno-Karabakh area in a state of legal limbo, with the Republic of Artsakh remaining de facto independent but internationally unrecognized while Armenian forces currently control approximately 9% of Azerbaijan's territory outside the enclave. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_13

As a result of the conflict, approximately 724,000 Azerbaijanis were expelled from Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding territories, while 300,000–500,000 Armenians living in Azerbaijan or Armenian border areas were displaced. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_14

Background First Nagorno-Karabakh War_section_0

Main article: History of Nagorno-Karabakh First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_15

The territorial ownership of Nagorno-Karabakh today is heavily contested between Armenians and Azerbaijanis. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_16

The current conflict has its roots in events following World War I. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_17

Shortly before the Ottoman Empire's capitulation in the war, the Russian Empire collapsed in November 1917 and fell under the control of the Bolsheviks. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_18

The three nations of the Caucasus, Armenians, Azerbaijanis and Georgians, previously under the rule of the Russian Empire, declared the formation of the Transcaucasian Federation which dissolved after only three months of existence. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_19

Armenian–Azerbaijani war First Nagorno-Karabakh War_section_1

Main article: Armenian–Azerbaijani War First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_20

Fighting soon broke out between the First Republic of Armenia and the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic in three specific regions: Nakhchivan, Zangezur (today the Armenian province of Syunik) and Karabakh itself. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_21

Armenia and Azerbaijan quarrelled about the putative boundaries of the three provinces. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_22

The Karabakh Armenians attempted to declare their independence but failed to make contact with the Republic of Armenia. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_23

Following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in World War I, forces led by Armenian General Andranik Ozanian entered Karabakh and were headed towards the regional capital of Shusha in December 1918. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_24

British troops occupied the South Caucasus in 1919, and the British command suggested Andranik cease his offensive and allow the conflict to be solved at the Paris Peace Conference. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_25

Afterwards, the British provisionally agreed to Azerbaijani statesman Khosrov bey Sultanov's appointment as provisional governor, but insisted that a final decision on the territory's ownership should be decided only at a future peace conference. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_26

In the meantime, the Shusha massacre occurred. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_27

Soviet division First Nagorno-Karabakh War_section_2

In April 1920, the Soviet 11th Army invaded the Caucasus and within two years, the Caucasian republics were formed into the Transcaucasian SFSR of the Soviet Union. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_28

The Bolsheviks thereafter created a seven-member committee, the Caucasus Bureau (typically referred to as the Kavburo). First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_29

Under the supervision of the People's Commissar for Nationalities, the future Soviet ruler Joseph Stalin, (born and raised in Georgia), the Kavburo was tasked to head up matters in the Caucasus. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_30

On 4 July 1921 the committee voted 4–3 in favor of allocating Karabakh to the newly created Soviet Socialist Republic of Armenia but a day later the Kavburo reversed its decision and voted to leave the region within the Azerbaijan SSR. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_31

In accordance with Soviet policy aimed at provoking dissent between Armenia and Azerbaijan, making sure that they fight against each other, not against the Soviets, the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast (NKAO) was created in 1923, strategically leaving it with a 94% Armenian population. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_32

The reversal was substantiated with the economic connections the region had with Azerbaijan. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_33

The capital was moved from Shusha to Khankendi, which was later renamed as Stepanakert. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_34

Armenian and Azerbaijani scholars have speculated that the decision was an application of the principle of "divide and rule" by the Soviet Union. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_35

This can be seen, for example, by the odd placement of the Nakhichevan exclave, which is separated by Armenia but is a part of Azerbaijan. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_36

Others have also postulated that the decision was a goodwill gesture by the Soviet government to help maintain "good relations with Atatürk's Turkey". First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_37

Over the following decades of Soviet rule the Armenians retained a strong desire for unification of Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia, an aim that some members of the Armenian Communist Party attempted to accomplish. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_38

First Secretary of the Communist Party of Armenia Aghasi Khanjian was murdered by Deputy Head (and soon Head) of the NKVD Lavrentiy Beria after submitting Armenian grievances to Stalin, which included requests to return Nagorno-Karabakh and Nakhichevan to Armenia. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_39

The Armenians insisted that their national rights had been suppressed and their cultural and economic freedoms were being curtailed. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_40

Revival of the Karabakh issue First Nagorno-Karabakh War_section_3

After Stalin's death, Armenian discontent began to be voiced. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_41

In 1963, around 2,500 Karabakh Armenians signed a petition calling for Karabakh to be put under Armenian control or to be transferred to Russia. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_42

The same year saw violent clashes in Stepanakert, leading to the death of 18 Armenians. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_43

In 1965 and 1977, there were large demonstrations in Yerevan calling to unify Karabakh with Armenia. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_44

In 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev came to power as the new general secretary of the Soviet Union and began implementing plans to reform the Soviet Union, encapsulated in two policies: perestroika and glasnost. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_45

While perestroika had to do with structural and economic reform, glasnost or "openness" granted limited freedom to Soviet citizens to express grievances about the Soviet system and leaders. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_46

Karabakh Armenian leaders complained that the region had neither Armenian language textbooks in schools nor in television broadcasting, and that Azerbaijan's Communist Party General Secretary Heydar Aliyev had attempted to extensively "Azerify" the region, increasing the influence and number of Azerbaijanis living in Nagorno-Karabakh, while at the same time reducing its Armenian population. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_47

Aliyev stepped down as General Secretary of Azerbaijan's Politburo, in 1987. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_48

The Armenian population of Karabakh had dwindled to nearly three-quarters of the total population by the late 1980s. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_49

The movement was spearheaded by popular Armenian figures. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_50

Some members of the Russian intelligentsia expressed support for Armenians, including the dissident Andrei Sakharov. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_51

Support for the movement among the Moscow elite was suggested in November 1987, when L'Humanité published personal comments made by an economic adviser to Gorbachev, Abel Aganbegyan, to Armenians living in France, in which he suggested that Nagorno-Karabakh could be ceded to Armenia. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_52

In February 1988, Armenians began protesting and staging workers' strikes in Yerevan, demanding unification with the enclave. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_53

This prompted Azerbaijani counter-protests in Baku, on 19 February 1988 (the seventh day of Armenian rallies). First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_54

The poet Bakhtiyar Vahabzadeh and the historian Suleyman Aliyarov published an open letter in the newspaper Azerbaijan, declaring that Karabakh was historically Azerbaijani territory. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_55

On 20 February 1988, the leaders of the regional Soviet of Karabakh voted in favour of unifying the autonomous region with Armenia in a resolution reading: First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_56

On 24 February, Boris Kevorkov, the Nagorno-Karabakh autonomous region party secretary and an Azerbaijan loyalist, was dismissed. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_57

On 26 February, Gorbachev met with two leaders of the Karabakh movement, Zori Balayan and Silva Kaputikyan, and asked them for a one-month moratorium on demonstrations. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_58

Returning to Armenia the same evening, Kaputikyan told the crowds the "Armenians [had] triumphed", although Gorbachev hadn't made any concrete promises. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_59

According to Svante Cornell, this was an attempt to pressure Moscow. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_60

On 10 March, Gorbachev stated that the borders between the republics would not change, in accordance with Article 78 of the Soviet constitution. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_61

Gorbachev said that several other regions in the Soviet Union were yearning for territorial changes and redrawing the boundaries in Karabakh would thus set a dangerous precedent. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_62

While the Armenians viewed the 1921 Kavburo decision with disdain and felt they were correcting a historical error through the principle of self-determination (a right also granted in the constitution), Azerbaijanis found calls to relinquish their territory unfathomable and aligned themselves with Gorbachev's position. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_63

Askeran and Sumgait First Nagorno-Karabakh War_section_4

Main articles: Askeran clash and Sumgait pogrom First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_64

Ethnic infighting soon broke out between Armenians and Azerbaijanis living in Karabakh. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_65

It is claimed as early as the end of 1987 Azerbaijanis from the villages of Ghapan and Meghri in Armenia were forced to leave their homes as a result of tensions between them and their Armenian neighbours and in November 1987 two freight cars full of Azerbaijanis are alleged to have arrived at the train station in Baku. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_66

In later interviews, the mayors of the two villages denied that any such tension existed at the time and no such documentation has been adduced to support the notion of forced expulsions. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_67

On 20 February 1988, two Azerbaijani trainee female students in Stepanakert hospital were raped allegedly by Armenians. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_68

On 22 February 1988 a direct confrontation between Azerbaijanis and Armenians, near the town of Askeran (located on the road between Stepanakert and Agdam) in Nagorno-Karabakh, degenerated into a skirmish. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_69

During the clashes, two Azerbaijani youths were killed. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_70

One of them was probably shot by a local policeman, possibly an Azerbaijani, either by accident or as a result of a quarrel. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_71

On 27 February 1988, while speaking on Baku's central television, the Soviet Deputy Procurator Alexander Katusev reported that "two inhabitants of the Agdam district fell victim to murder" and gave their Muslim names. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_72

The clash in Askeran was the prelude to the pogroms in Sumgait, where emotions, already heightened by news about the Karabakh crisis, turned even uglier in a series of protests starting on 27 February. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_73

Speaking at the rallies, Azerbaijani refugees from the Armenian town of Ghapan accused Armenians of "murder and atrocities". First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_74

According to the Soviet media, these allegations were disproved and many of the speakers were reportedly agents provocateurs. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_75

Within hours, a pogrom against Armenian residents began in Sumgait. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_76

The pogroms resulted in the deaths of 32 people (26 Armenians and 6 Azerbaijanis), according to official Soviet statistics, although many Armenians felt that the true figure was not reported. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_77

Nearly all of Sumgait's Armenian population left the city after the pogrom. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_78

Armenians were beaten, raped, mutilated and killed both on the streets of Sumgait and inside their apartments during three days of violence (with no intervention from the police or the local bodies) that only subsided when Soviet armed forces entered the city and quelled much of the rioting on 1 March. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_79

The manner in which they were killed reverberated among Armenians, recalling memories of the Armenian Genocide. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_80

On 23 March 1988, the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union rejected the demands of Armenians to cede Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_81

Troops were sent to Yerevan to prevent protests against the decision. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_82

Gorbachev's attempts to stabilize the region were to no avail, as both sides remained equally intransigent. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_83

In Armenia, there was a firm belief that what had taken place in the region of Nakhichevan would be repeated in Nagorno-Karabakh: prior to its absorption by Soviet Russia, it had a population which was 40% Armenian; by the late 1980s, its Armenian population was virtually non-existent. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_84

Interethnic violence First Nagorno-Karabakh War_section_5

Further information: Kirovabad pogrom First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_85

Armenians refused to allow the issue to subside despite a compromise made by Gorbachev, which included a promise of a 400 million-ruble package to introduce Armenian language textbooks and television programming in Karabakh. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_86

At the same time, Azerbaijan was unwilling to cede any territory to Armenia. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_87

Calls to transfer Karabakh to Armenia briefly subsided when a devastating earthquake hit Armenia on 7 December 1988, which levelled the towns of Leninakan (now Gyumri) and Spitak, killing an estimated 25,000 people. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_88

However conflict brewed up once more when the eleven members of the newly formed Karabakh Committee, including the future president of Armenia Levon Ter-Petrosyan, were jailed by Moscow officials in the ensuing chaos of the earthquake. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_89

Such actions polarized relations between Armenia and the Kremlin; Armenians lost faith in Gorbachev, despising him even more because of his handling of the earthquake relief effort and his uncompromising stance on Nagorno-Karabakh. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_90

In the months following the Sumgait pogroms, a forced population exchange took place as Armenians living in Azerbaijan and Azerbaijanis living in Armenia were compelled to abandon their homes. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_91

According to the Azerbaijani government, between 27 and 29 November 1988 33 Azerbaijanis were killed in Spitak, Gugark and Stepanavan and 216 in the 1987–1989 period. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_92

According to Azerbaijani MP Arif Yunusov in November of the same year 20 Azerbaijanis from the Armenian village of Vartan were reportedly burned to death. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_93

According to Armenian sources, the number of Azerbaijanis killed in the 1988–1989 period was 25. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_94

Interethnic fighting also spread throughout cities in Azerbaijan, including, in December 1988, in Kirovabad and Nakhichevan, where seven people (among them four soldiers) were killed and hundreds injured when Soviet army units attempted once more to stop attacks directed at Armenians. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_95

Estimates differ on how many people were killed during the first two years of the conflict. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_96

The Azerbaijani government alleges that 216 Azerbaijanis were killed in Armenia, while the researcher Arif Yunusov gives 127 to those killed in 1988 alone. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_97

An October 1989 piece by Time, stated that over 100 people were estimated to have been killed since February 1988, in both Armenia and Azerbaijan. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_98

According to The Washington Post, before the ceasefire agreement of 1994, which was brokered by Russia, about 30,000 people died and almost a million people were displaced. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_99

Approximately 700,000 ethnic Azerbaijanis were forced to leave Nagorno-Karabakh and other surrounding areas, where de facto independence was declared by a separatist government, despite the fact that the international community considers the territory to be part of Azerbaijan. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_100

By the end of 1988, dozens of villages in Armenia had become deserted, as most of Armenia's more than 200,000 Azerbaijanis and Muslim Kurds left. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_101

While Muslim Kurds did not take up arms against Armenians, almost all of them fled their homes from the Armenian controlled areas (at most, 1,000 Muslim Kurds are estimated to remain in Armenia today). First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_102

Black January First Nagorno-Karabakh War_section_6

Main articles: Black January and Baku Pogrom First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_103

Inter-ethnic strife began to take a toll on both countries' populations, forcing most of the Armenians in Azerbaijan to flee to Armenia and most of the Azerbaijanis in Armenia to Azerbaijan. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_104

The situation in Nagorno-Karabakh had grown so out of hand that in January 1989 the central government in Moscow temporarily took control of the region, a move welcomed by many Armenians. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_105

In September 1989, Popular Front (APF) leaders and their ever-increasing supporters managed to institute a railway blockade against Armenia and the NKAO, effectively crippling Armenia's economy, as 85% of the cargo and goods arrived through rail traffic, although some claim this was a response to Armenia's embargo against Nakhichevan ASSR that had started earlier that year. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_106

The disruption of rail service to Armenia was, accordingly, in part due to the attacks of Armenian militants on Azerbaijani train crews entering Armenia. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_107

In January 1990, another pogrom directed at Armenians in Baku forced Gorbachev to declare a state of emergency and send troops from the MVD to restore order. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_108

Amid the rising independence movement in Azerbaijan, Gorbachev dispatched the military to dragoon the events, as the Soviet regime inched closer to collapse. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_109

Soviet troops received orders to occupy Baku at midnight on 20 January 1990. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_110

City residents, who saw tanks coming at about 5 AM, said the troops were the first to open fire. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_111

The Shield Report, an independent commission from the USSR military procurator's office, rejected the military claims of returning fire, finding no evidence that those manning the barricades on the roads to Baku were armed. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_112

A curfew was established and violent clashes between the soldiers and the surging APF were common, in the end leading to the deaths of 120 Azerbaijanis and eight MVD soldiers in Baku. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_113

During this time Azerbaijan's Communist Party had fallen and the belated order to send the MVD forces had more to do with keeping the Party in power than with protecting the city's Armenian population. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_114

The events referred to as "Black January", also strained the relations between Azerbaijan and the central government. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_115

Fighting in Qazakh First Nagorno-Karabakh War_section_7

Azerbaijan has several exclaves within the territory of Armenia: Yukhari Askipara, Barkhudarli and Sofulu in the northwest and an exclave of Karki in the Nakhchivan exclave of Azerbaijan. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_116

In early 1990, the road alongside the border village of Baganis came under routine attack by militia members from Azerbaijan. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_117

At the same time, Armenian forces attacked both these Azerbaijani enclaves within the Armenian territory and the border villages of the Qazakh and Sadarak rayons in Azerbaijan proper. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_118

On 26 March 1990 several cars with Armenian paramilitaries arrived in the Armenian border village of Baganis. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_119

At dusk, they crossed the border storming the Azerbaijani village Bağanis Ayrum. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_120

About 20 houses were burned and 8 to 11 Azerbaijani villagers killed. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_121

The bodies of members of one family, including infants, were found in the charred ruins of their burned homes. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_122

By the time the MVD troops arrived in Bağanis Ayrum, the attackers had already fled. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_123

On 18 August a significant accumulation of Armenian militants near the border was observed. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_124

The following day, units of the Armenian national army bombarded Azerbaijani villages Yuxarı Əskipara, Bağanis Ayrum, Aşağı Əskipara and Quşçu Ayrım, and according to eyewitnesses used Rocket-propelled grenades and mortars. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_125

The first attack was repulsed, but with additional reinforcements arriving from Yerevan, Armenian forces were able to seize Yuxarı Əskipara and Bağanis Ayrum. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_126

On 20 August tanks, anti-aircraft guns and helicopter gunships of the Soviet army under the command of Major General Yuri Shatalin were brought in and by the end of the day the Armenians were driven off. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_127

According to the Soviet Ministry of Interior, one internal ministry officer, and two police officers were killed, nine soldiers and thirteen residents were injured. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_128

According to Armenian media reports, five militants were killed and 25 were wounded; according to Azerbaijani media, about 30 were killed and 100 wounded. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_129

Operation Ring First Nagorno-Karabakh War_section_8

Main article: Operation Ring First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_130

In early 1991, President Gorbachev held a special countrywide referendum called the Union Treaty which would decide if the Soviet republics would remain together. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_131

Newly elected, non-communist leaders had come to power in the Soviet republics, including Boris Yeltsin in Russia (Gorbachev remained the President of the Soviet Union), Levon Ter-Petrosyan in Armenia, and Ayaz Mutalibov in Azerbaijan. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_132

Armenia and five other republics boycotted the referendum (Armenia declared its independence from the Soviet Union on 23 August 1990), whereas Azerbaijan voted in compliance to the Treaty. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_133

As many Armenians and Azerbaijanis in Karabakh began arms build-up (by acquiring weaponry located in caches throughout Karabakh) in order to defend themselves, Mutalibov turned to Gorbachev for support in launching a joint military operation in order to disarm Armenian militants in the region. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_134

Termed Operation Ring, Soviet forces acting in conjunction with the local Azerbaijani OMON forcibly deported Armenians living in the villages of the region of Shahumyan. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_135

The operation involved the use of ground troops, military, armored vehicles and artillery. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_136

The deportations of the Armenian civilians were carried out with gross human rights violations documented by international human rights organizations. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_137

Operation Ring was perceived by both Soviet and Armenian government officials as a method of intimidating the Armenian populace to giving up their demands for unification. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_138

The operation proved counter-productive with the violence only reinforcing the belief among Armenians that the only solution to the Karabakh conflict was through armed resistance. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_139

The initial Armenian resistance inspired volunteers to start forming irregular volunteer detachments. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_140

First attempt to mediate peace First Nagorno-Karabakh War_section_9

Main article: Zheleznovodsk Communiqué First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_141

First peace mediation efforts were started by the Russian President, Boris Yeltsin and Kazakhstan President, Nursultan Nazarbayev in September 1991. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_142

After peace talks in Baku, Ganja, Stepanakert (Khankendi) and Yerevan on 20–23 September, the sides agreed to sign the Zheleznovodsk Communiqué in the Russian city of Zheleznovodsk taking the principles of territorial integrity, non-interference in internal affairs of sovereign states, observance of civil rights as a base of the agreement. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_143

The agreement was signed by Yeltsin, Nazarbayev, Mutalibov and Ter-Petrosian. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_144

The peace efforts came to a halt due to continuing bombardment and atrocities by Azerbaijani OMON in Stepanakert and Chapar in late September. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_145

With the final blow being the Azerbaijani Mi-8 helicopter shoot down near the village of Karakend in the Martuni District with a peace mediating team consisting of Russian, Kazakh observers and Azerbaijani high-ranking officials on board. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_146

Conflict in the last days of the USSR First Nagorno-Karabakh War_section_10

In late 1991, Armenian militias launched offensives to capture Armenian-populated villages seized by Azerbaijani OMON in May–July 1991. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_147

Leaving these villages, the Azerbaijani units in some cases burned them. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_148

According to the Moscow-based Human Rights organization Memorial, at the same time, as a result of attacks by Armenian armed forces, several thousand residents of Azerbaijani villages in the former Shahumian, Hadrut, Martakert, Askeran and Martuni rayons of Azerbaijan had to leave their homes, too. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_149

Some villages (e.g., Imereti and Gerevent) were burned by the militants. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_150

There were instances of serious violence against the civilian population (in particular, in the village Meshali). First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_151

Starting in late 1991, when the Azerbaijani side started its counter-offensive, the Armenian side began targeting Azerbaijani villages. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_152

According to Memorial, the villages Malibeyli and Gushchular, from which Azerbaijani forces regularly bombarded Stepanakert, were attacked by Armenians where the houses were burned and dozens of civilians were killed. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_153

Each side accused the other of using the villages as strategic gathering points, covering the artillery positions. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_154

On 19 December, Internal Ministry troops began to withdraw from Nagorno-Karabakh, which was completed by 27 December. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_155

With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the withdrawal of internal troops from Nagorno-Karabakh, the situation in the conflict zone became uncontrollable. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_156

Weapons vacuum First Nagorno-Karabakh War_section_11

As the disintegration of the Soviet Union became a reality for Soviet citizens in late 1991, both sides sought to acquire weaponry from military caches located throughout Karabakh. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_157

The initial advantage tilted in Azerbaijan's favour. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_158

During the Cold War, the Soviet military doctrine for defending the Caucasus had outlined a strategy where Armenia would be a combat zone in the event that NATO member Turkey invaded from the west. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_159

Thus, there were only three divisions stationed in the Armenian SSR and no airfields, while Azerbaijan had a total of five divisions and five military airfields. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_160

Furthermore, Armenia had approximately 500 railroad cars of ammunition in comparison to Azerbaijan's 10,000. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_161

As MVD forces began pulling out, they bequeathed the Armenians and Azerbaijanis a vast arsenal of ammunition and stored armored vehicles. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_162

The government forces initially sent by Gorbachev three years earlier were from other republics of the Soviet Union and many had no wish to remain any longer. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_163

Most were poor, young conscripts and many simply sold their weapons for cash or even vodka to either side, some even trying to sell tanks and armored personnel carriers (APCs). First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_164

The unsecured weapons caches led both sides to blame Gorbachev's policies as the ultimate cause of the conflict. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_165

The Azerbaijanis purchased a large quantity of these vehicles, as reported by the Foreign Ministry of Azerbaijan in November 1993, which reported it had acquired 286 tanks, 842 armored vehicles and 386 artillery pieces during the power vacuum. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_166

The emergence of black markets helped facilitate the import of Western weaponry. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_167

Most weaponry was Russian-made or came from the former Eastern bloc countries; some improvisation was made by both sides. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_168

Azerbaijan received substantial military aid and provisions from Turkey, Israel and numerous Arab countries. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_169

The Armenian Diaspora donated a significant amount of aid to Armenia through the course of the war and even managed to push for legislation in the United States Congress to pass a bill entitled Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act in response to Azerbaijan's blockade against Armenia, placing a complete ban on military aid from the United States to Azerbaijan in 1992. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_170

While Azerbaijan charged that the Russians were initially helping the Armenians, it was said that "the Azerbaijani fighters in the region [were] far better equipped with Soviet military weaponry than their opponents." First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_171

With Gorbachev resigning as President of the USSR on 25 December 1991, the remaining republics including Kazakhstan, Belarus and Russia, declared their independence and the Soviet Union ceased to exist on 31 December 1991. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_172

This dissolution gave way to any barriers that were keeping Armenia and Azerbaijan from waging a full-scale war. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_173

One month prior, on 26 November, the Azerbaijani Parliament had rescinded Karabakh's status as an autonomous region and renamed its capital "Xankandi". First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_174

In response, on 10 December, a referendum was held in Karabakh by parliamentary leaders (with the local Azerbaijani community boycotting it), whereby the Armenians voted overwhelmingly in favour of independence. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_175

On 6 January 1992, the region declared its independence from Azerbaijan. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_176

The withdrawal of the Soviet interior forces from Nagorno-Karabakh was only temporary. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_177

By February 1992, the former Soviet republics were consolidated as the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_178

While Azerbaijan abstained from joining, Armenia, fearing a possible invasion by Turkey in the escalating conflict, entered the CIS, which brought it under the organization's "collective security umbrella". First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_179

In January 1992, CIS forces established their new headquarters at Stepanakert and took up a slightly more active role in peacekeeping, incorporating old units, including the 366th Motorized Rifle Regiment and elements of the Soviet 4th Army. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_180

Building armies First Nagorno-Karabakh War_section_12

The sporadic battles between Armenians and Azerbaijanis had intensified after Operation Ring recruited thousands of volunteers into improvised armies from both Armenia and Azerbaijan. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_181

In Armenia, a recurrent and popular theme at the time compared and idolized the separatist fighters to historical Armenian guerrilla groups and revered individuals such as Andranik Ozanian and Garegin Nzhdeh, who fought against the Ottoman Empire and Azerbaijan Democratic Republic during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_182

In addition to the government's conscription of males aged 18–45, many Armenians volunteered to fight and formed jokats, or detachments of about forty men, which, combined with several others, came under the command of a lieutenant colonel. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_183

Initially, many of these men chose when and where to serve and acted on their own behalf, rarely with any oversight, when attacking or defending areas. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_184

Direct insubordination was common as many of the men simply did not show up, looted the bodies of dead soldiers and commodities such as diesel oil for armored vehicles disappeared only to be sold in black markets. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_185

Many women enlisted in the Nagorno-Karabakh military, taking part in the fighting as well as serving in auxiliary roles such as providing first-aid and evacuating wounded men from the battlefield. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_186

Azerbaijan's military functioned in much the same manner; it was better organized during the first years of the war. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_187

The Azerbaijani government also carried out conscription and many Azerbaijanis enthusiastically enlisted for combat in the first months after the Soviet Union collapsed. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_188

Azerbaijan's National Army consisted of roughly 30,000 men, as well as nearly 10,000 in its OMON paramilitary force and several thousand volunteers from the Popular Front. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_189

Suret Huseynov, a wealthy Azerbaijani, also improvised by creating his own military brigade, the 709th of the Azerbaijani Army and purchasing many weapons and vehicles from the 23rd Motor Rifle Division's arsenal. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_190

Isgandar Hamidov's bozqurt or Grey Wolves brigade also mobilized for action. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_191

The government of Azerbaijan also poured a great deal of money into hiring mercenaries from other countries through the revenue it was making from its oil field assets on and near the Caspian Sea. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_192

Former troops of the Soviet Union also offered their services to either side. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_193

For example, one of the most prominent officers to serve on the Armenian side was former Soviet General Anatoly Zinevich, who remained in Nagorno-Karabakh for five years (1992–1997) and was involved in planning and implementation of many operations of the Armenian forces. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_194

By the end of the war, he held the position of Chief of Staff of the Republic of Artsakh armed forces. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_195

The estimated amount of manpower and military vehicles each entity involved in the conflict had in the 1993–1994 time period was: First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_196

First Nagorno-Karabakh War_table_general_1

First Nagorno-Karabakh War_header_cell_1_0_0 Armenia and  Nagorno-KarabakhFirst Nagorno-Karabakh War_header_cell_1_0_1 AzerbaijanFirst Nagorno-Karabakh War_header_cell_1_0_2
Military personnelFirst Nagorno-Karabakh War_cell_1_1_0 40,000First Nagorno-Karabakh War_cell_1_1_1 42,000First Nagorno-Karabakh War_cell_1_1_2
ArtilleryFirst Nagorno-Karabakh War_cell_1_2_0 177–187 (160–170 + 17)First Nagorno-Karabakh War_cell_1_2_1 388–395First Nagorno-Karabakh War_cell_1_2_2
TanksFirst Nagorno-Karabakh War_cell_1_3_0 90–173 (77–160 + 13)First Nagorno-Karabakh War_cell_1_3_1 436–458First Nagorno-Karabakh War_cell_1_3_2
Armored personnel carriersFirst Nagorno-Karabakh War_cell_1_4_0 290–360 (150–240 + 120)First Nagorno-Karabakh War_cell_1_4_1 558–1,264First Nagorno-Karabakh War_cell_1_4_2
Armored fighting vehiclesFirst Nagorno-Karabakh War_cell_1_5_0 39–200 + N/AFirst Nagorno-Karabakh War_cell_1_5_1 389–480First Nagorno-Karabakh War_cell_1_5_2
Fighter aircraftFirst Nagorno-Karabakh War_cell_1_6_0 3 + N/AFirst Nagorno-Karabakh War_cell_1_6_1 63–170First Nagorno-Karabakh War_cell_1_6_2
HelicoptersFirst Nagorno-Karabakh War_cell_1_7_0 13 + N/AFirst Nagorno-Karabakh War_cell_1_7_1 45–51First Nagorno-Karabakh War_cell_1_7_2

Because at the time Armenia did not have the kind of far-reaching treaties with Russia (signed later in 1997 and 2010), and because CSTO did not exist then, Armenia had to protect its border with Turkey by itself. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_197

For the duration of the war, most of the military personnel and equipment of the Republic of Armenia stayed in Armenia proper guarding the Armenian-Turkish border against possible aggression. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_198

In an overall military comparison, the number of men eligible for military service in Armenia, in the age group of 17–32, totalled 550,000, while in Azerbaijan it was 1.3 million. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_199

Most men from both sides had served in the Soviet Army and so had some form of military experience prior to the conflict, including tours of duty in Afghanistan. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_200

Among Karabakh Armenians, about 60% had served in the Soviet Army. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_201

Most Azerbaijanis were often subject to discrimination during their service in the Soviet military and relegated to work in construction battalions rather than fighting corps. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_202

Despite the establishment of two officer academies including a naval school in Azerbaijan, the lack of such military experience was one factor that rendered Azerbaijan unprepared for the war. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_203

The Azerbaijani military was assisted by Afghan commander Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_204

The recruitment for the purpose was mostly made in Peshawar by commander Fazle Haq Mujahid and several groups were dispatched to Azerbaijan for different duties. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_205

Shelling of Stepanakert First Nagorno-Karabakh War_section_13

Main article: Shelling of Stepanakert First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_206

During the winter of 1991–1992 Stepanakert, the capital of Nagorno-Karabakh was blockaded by Azerbaijani forces and many civilian targets in the city were intentionally bombarded by artillery and aircraft. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_207

The bombardment of Stepanakert and adjacent Armenian-held towns and villages during the blockade caused widespread destruction and the Interior Minister of Nagorno-Karabakh claimed that 169 Armenians died between October 1991 and April 1992. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_208

Azerbaijan used weapons such as the BM-21 Grad multiple-launch rocket system during the bombardment. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_209

The indiscriminate shelling and aerial attacks, terrorized the civilian population and destroyed numerous civilian buildings, including homes, hospitals and other non-legitimate military targets. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_210

Human Rights Watch reported that main bases used by Azerbaijani armed forces for the bombardment of Stepanakert were the towns of Khojaly and Shusha. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_211

In February 1992, Khojaly was captured by a mixed force of ethnic Armenians and, according to international observers, the 366th CIS Regiment. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_212

After its capture, Khojaly became the site of the largest massacre to occur during the First Nagorno-Karabakh War. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_213

Human rights Watch estimates that at least 161 Azerbaijani civilians, as well as a number of unarmed hors de combat, were killed as they fled the town. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_214

The siege was finally lifted a few months later, in May 1992, when Armenian forces scored a decisive victory by capturing Shusha. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_215

Early Armenian offensives First Nagorno-Karabakh War_section_14

Khojaly First Nagorno-Karabakh War_section_15

Main article: Khojaly Massacre First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_216

On 2 January 1992 Ayaz Mutalibov assumed the presidency of Azerbaijan. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_217

Officially, the newly created Republic of Armenia publicly denied any involvement in providing any weapons, fuel, food, or other logistics to the secessionists in Nagorno-Karabakh. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_218

Ter-Petrosyan later did admit to supplying them with logistical supplies and paying the salaries of the separatists, but denied sending any of its own men into combat. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_219

Armenia faced a debilitating blockade by the now Republic of Azerbaijan, as well as pressure from neighbouring Turkey, which decided to side with Azerbaijan and build a closer relationship with it. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_220

In early February, the Azerbaijani villages of Malıbəyli, Karadagly and Agdaban were conquered and their population evicted, leading to at least 99 civilian deaths and 140 wounded. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_221

The only land connection Armenia had with Karabakh was through the narrow, mountainous Lachin corridor which could only be reached by helicopters. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_222

The region's only airport was in the small town of Khojaly, which was 7 kilometres (4 miles) north of the capital Stepanakert with an estimated population of 6,000–10,000 people. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_223

Khojaly had been serving as an artillery base from which GRAD missiles were launched upon the civilian population of capital Stepanakert: On some days as many as 400 GRAD missiles rained down on Armenian multi-story apartments. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_224

By late February, the Armenian forces reportedly warned about the upcoming attack and issued an ultimatum that unless the Azerbaijanis stopped the shelling from Khojaly they would seize the town. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_225

By late February, Khojaly had largely been cut off. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_226

On 26 February, Armenian forces, with the aid of some armored vehicles from the 366th, mounted an offensive to capture Khojaly. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_227

According to the Azerbaijani side and the affirmation of other sources including Human Rights Watch, the Moscow-based human rights organization Memorial and the biography of a leading Armenian commander, Monte Melkonian, documented and published by his brother, after Armenian forces captured Khojaly, they killed several hundred civilians evacuating from the town. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_228

Armenian forces had previously stated they would attack the city and leave a land corridor for them to escape through. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_229

When the attack began, the attacking Armenian force easily outnumbered and overwhelmed the defenders who along with the civilians attempted to retreat north to the Azerbaijani held city of Agdam. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_230

The airport's runway was found to have been intentionally destroyed, rendering it temporarily useless. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_231

The attacking forces then went on to pursue those fleeing through the corridor and opened fire upon them, killing scores of civilians. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_232

Facing charges of an intentional massacre of civilians by international groups, Armenian government officials denied the occurrence of a massacre and asserted an objective of silencing the artillery coming from Khojaly. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_233

An exact body count was never ascertained but conservative estimates have placed the number to 485. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_234

The official death toll according to Azerbaijani authorities for casualties suffered during the events of 25–26 February is 613 civilians, of them 106 women and 83 children. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_235

On 3 March 1992, the Boston Globe reported over 1,000 people had been slain over four years of conflict. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_236

It quoted the mayor of Khojaly, Elmar Mamedov, as also saying 200 more were missing, 300 were held hostage and 200 injured in the fighting. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_237

A report published in 1992 by the human rights organization Helsinki Watch stated that their inquiry found that the Azerbaijani OMON and "the militia, still in uniform and some still carrying their guns, were interspersed with the masses of civilians" which may have been the reason why Armenian troops fired upon them. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_238

Under pressure from the APF due to the mismanagement of the defence of Khojaly and the safety of its inhabitants, Mutalibov was forced to submit his resignation to the National Assembly of Azerbaijan. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_239

Capture of Shusha First Nagorno-Karabakh War_section_16

Main article: Capture of Shusha First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_240

When Armenians launched one of the first offensives, at Stepanakert on 13 February 1988, many Azerbaijanis fled to the stronghold of Shusha. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_241

On 26 January 1992, the Azerbaijani forces stationed in Shusha encircled and attacked the nearby Armenian village Karintak (located on the way from Shusha to Stepanakert) in an attempt to capture it. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_242

This operation was conducted by Azerbaijan's then-defence minister Tajedin Mekhtiev and was supposed to prepare the ground for a future attack on Stepanakert. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_243

The operation failed as the villagers and the Armenian fighters strongly retaliated. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_244

Mekhtiev was ambushed and up to 70 Azeri soldiers died. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_245

After this debacle, Mekhtiev left Shusha and was fired as defence minister. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_246

On 28 March, Azerbaijani troops deployed to attack Stepanakert, attacked Armenian positions above the village Kərkicahan from the village of Dzhangasan. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_247

During the afternoon of the next day, Azerbaijani units took up positions in close proximity to the city, but were quickly repulsed by the Armenians. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_248

In the ensuing months after the capture of Khojaly, Azerbaijani commanders holding out in the region's last bastion of Shusha began a large-scale artillery bombardment with GRAD rocket launchers against Stepanakert. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_249

By April, the shelling had forced many of the 50,000 people living in Stepanakert to seek refuge in underground bunkers and basements. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_250

Facing ground incursions near the city's outlying areas, military leaders in Nagorno-Karabakh organized an offensive to take the town. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_251

On 8 May a force of several hundred Armenian troops accompanied by tanks and helicopters attacked Shusha. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_252

Fierce fighting took place in the town's streets and several hundred men were killed on both sides. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_253

Although the Armenians were outnumbered and outgunned by the Azerbaijani Army, they managed to capture the town and force the Azerbaijanis to retreat on 9 May. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_254

The capture of Shusha resonated loudly in neighbouring Turkey. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_255

Its relations with Armenia had grown better after it had declared its independence from the Soviet Union; they gradually worsened as a result of Armenia's gains in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_256

Turkey's prime minister Suleyman Demirel said that he was under intense pressure by his people to have his country intervene and aid Azerbaijan. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_257

Demirel was opposed to such an intervention, saying that Turkey's entrance into the war would trigger an even greater Muslim-Christian conflict (Turkey is overwhelmingly Muslim). First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_258

Turkey never sent troops to Azerbaijan but did contribute substantial military aid and advisers. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_259

In May 1992, the military commander of the CIS forces, Marshal Yevgeny Shaposhnikov, issued a warning to Western nations, especially the United States, to not interfere with the conflict in the Caucasus, stating it would "place us [the Commonwealth] on the verge of a third world war and that cannot be allowed". First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_260

A Chechen contingent, led by Shamil Basayev, was one of the units to participate in the conflict. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_261

According to Azerbaijani Colonel Azer Rustamov, in 1992, "hundreds of Chechen volunteers rendered us invaluable help in these battles led by Shamil Basayev and Salman Raduev." First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_262

Basayev was said to be one of the last fighters to leave Shusha. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_263

According to Russian news reports Basayev later said during his career, he and his battalion had only lost once and that defeat came in Karabakh in fighting against the "Dashnak battalion". First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_264

He later said he pulled his forces out of the conflict because the war seemed to be more for nationalism than for religion. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_265

Basayev received direct military training from the Russian GRU during the War in Abkhazia since the Abkhaz were backed by Russia. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_266

Other Chechens also were trained by the GRU in warfare. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_267

Many of these Chechens who fought for the Russians in Abkhazia against Georgia had fought for Azerbaijan against Armenia in the First Nagorno-Karabakh War. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_268

Sealing Lachin First Nagorno-Karabakh War_section_17

The loss of Shusha led the Azerbaijani parliament to lay the blame on Yaqub Mammadov, then acting President of Azerbaijan, which removed him from power and cleared Mutalibov of any responsibility after the loss of Khojaly, reinstating him as President on 15 May 1992. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_269

Many Azerbaijanis saw this act as a coup, in addition to forestalling parliamentary elections due in June of that year. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_270

The Azerbaijani parliament at that time was made up of former leaders from the country's communist regime, and the losses of Khojaly and Shusha led to further agitation for free elections. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_271

To contribute to the turmoil, an offensive was launched by Armenian forces on 18 May to take the city of Lachin in the narrow corridor separating Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_272

The city itself was poorly guarded and, within the next day, Armenian forces took control of the town and cleared any remaining Azerbaijanis to open the road that linked the region to Armenia. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_273

The capture of Lachin then allowed an overland route to be connected with Armenia itself with supply convoys beginning to trek up the mountainous region of Lachin to Karabakh. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_274

The loss of Lachin was the final blow to Mutalibov's regime. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_275

Demonstrations were held despite Mutalibov's ban and an armed coup was staged by Popular Front activists. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_276

Fighting between government forces and Popular Front supporters escalated as the political opposition seized the parliament building in Baku as well as the airport and presidential office. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_277

On 16 June 1992 Abulfaz Elchibey was elected leader of Azerbaijan with many political leaders from the Azerbaijan Popular Front Party were elected into the parliament. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_278

The instigators lambasted Mutalibov as an undedicated and weak leader in the war in Karabakh. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_279

Elchibey was staunchly against receiving any help from the Russians, instead favoring closer ties to Turkey. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_280

The fighting also spilled into nearby Nakhchivan, which was shelled by Armenian troops in May 1992. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_281

Escalation First Nagorno-Karabakh War_section_18

Operation Goranboy First Nagorno-Karabakh War_section_19

Main article: Operation Goranboy First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_282

Operation Goranboy was a large-scale Azerbaijani offensive in mid-1992 aimed at taking control over the entire Nagorno-Karabakh and putting a decisive end to the resistance. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_283

This offensive is regarded as the only successful breakthrough by the Azerbaijani Army and marked the peak of Azerbaijani success in the entirety of the six-year-long conflict. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_284

It also marked the beginning of a new, more intense, phase of the war. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_285

Over 8,000 Azerbaijani troops and four additional battalions, at least 90 tanks and 70 Infantry fighting vehicles, as well as Mi-24 attack-helicopters were used in this operation. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_286

On 12 June 1992, the Azerbaijani military launched a large-scale diversionary attack in the direction of the Askeran region at the centre of Nagorno-Karabakh. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_287

Two groups, numbering 4,000 men, attacked the positions to the north and south of Askeran. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_288

As a result of fierce fighting the Azerbaijanis managed to establish control over some settlements in the Askeran region: Nakhichevanik, Arachadzor, Pirdzhamal, Dahraz and Agbulak. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_289

On 13 June 1992, Azerbaijan launched its main offensive against the region of Goranboy, located north of Nagorno-Karabakh, which was defended by just two small and poorly-equipped Armenian voluntary detachments. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_290

This three-day offensive was code-named Operation Goranboy and commanded by Suret Huseynov. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_291

After fifteen hours of fierce fighting against Azerbaijani forces, the two Armenian detachments were forced to retreat. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_292

Azerbaijan managed to capture several dozen villages in the Goranboy region originally held by the Armenian forces, and the entire Armenian civilian population of this region fled. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_293

On 4 July 1992, the Azerbaijanis captured the largest town in the region, Mardakert. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_294

The scale of the Azerbaijani offensive prompted the Armenian government to threaten Azerbaijan that it would directly intervene and assist the separatists fighting in Karabakh. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_295

The assault forced Armenian forces to retreat south toward Stepanakert where Karabakh commanders contemplated destroying a vital hydroelectric dam in the Mardakert region if the offensive was not halted. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_296

An estimated 30,000 Armenian refugees were also forced to flee to the capital as the assaulting forces had taken nearly half of Nagorno-Karabakh. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_297

On 18 June 1992, a state of emergency was announced throughout the NKR. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_298

On 15 August, the Committee for State Defense of the NKR was created, headed by Robert Kocharyan and later by Serzh Sargsyan. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_299

Partial mobilization was called for, which covered sergeants and privates in the NKR, NKR men available for military service aged 18–40, officers up to the age of 50 and women with previous military training. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_300

The newly conscripted now numbered 15,000 men. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_301

Military reforms swiftly took place consolidating many of the separate fighting Armenian volunteer detachments into a single NKR Defense Army. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_302

The Azerbaijani thrust ground to a halt when the armor was driven off by helicopter gunships. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_303

It was claimed that many of the crew members of the armored units in the Azerbaijani Army launched assault were Russians from the 104th Guards Airborne Division, based out of Ganja and so were the units that eventually stopped them. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_304

According to an Armenian government official, they were able to persuade Russian military units to bombard and effectively halt the advance within a few days. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_305

Russia also supplied arms to the Armenians. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_306

This allowed the Armenian government to make up its losses and organize a counteroffensive to restore the original lines of the front. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_307

Given the reorganization of the NKR Defense Army, the tide of Azerbaijani advances was finally stemmed. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_308

By late 1992, the Azerbaijani Army was exhausted and had suffered heavy losses. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_309

Faced with imminent defeat, Suret Huseynov moved what was left of his army out of Aghdara and back to Ganja, where it could recuperate and restock on ammunition and armaments found at the 104th Guards Airborne Division's base. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_310

In February–March of the following year, the NKR Defense Army helped turn the tide into a wave of advances. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_311

Subsequent attempts to mediate peace First Nagorno-Karabakh War_section_20

New efforts at peace talks were initiated by Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani in the first half of 1992, after the events in Khojaly and the resignation of Azerbaijani President Ayaz Mutallibov. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_312

Iranian diplomats conducted shuttle diplomacy and were able to bring the new president of Azerbaijan Yaqub Mammadov and President of Armenia Levon Ter-Petrosian to Tehran for bilateral talks on 7 May 1992. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_313

The Tehran Communiqué was signed by Mammadov, Ter-Petrosian and Rafsanjani following the agreement of the parties to international legal norms, stability of borders and to deal with the refugee crisis. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_314

The peace efforts were disrupted on the next day when Armenian troops captured the town of Shusha and completely failed following the capture of Lachin on 18 May. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_315

In mid-1992, the CSCE (later to become the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe), created the Minsk Group in Helsinki which comprised eleven nations and was co-chaired by France, Russia and the United States with the purpose of mediating a peace deal with Armenia and Azerbaijan. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_316

In their annual summit in 1992, the organization failed to address and solve the many new problems that had arisen since the Soviet Union collapsed, much less the Karabakh conflict. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_317

The war in Yugoslavia, Moldova's war with the breakaway republic of Transnistria, the secessionist movement in Chechnya and Georgia's renewed disputes with Russia, Abkhazia, and Ossetia were all top agenda issues that involved various ethnic groups fighting each other. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_318

The CSCE proposed the use of NATO and CIS peacekeepers to monitor ceasefires and protect shipments of humanitarian aid being sent to displaced refugees. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_319

Several ceasefires were put into effect after the June offensive, but the implementation of a European peacekeeping force, endorsed by Armenia, never came to fruition. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_320

The idea of sending 100 international observers to Karabakh was once raised but talks broke down completely between Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders in July. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_321

Russia was especially opposed to allowing a multinational peacekeeping force from NATO to entering the Caucasus, seeing it as a move that encroached on its "backyard". First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_322

Mardakert and Martuni Offensives First Nagorno-Karabakh War_section_21

Main article: Mardakert and Martuni Offensives First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_323

In late June, a new, smaller Azerbaijani offensive was planned, this time against the town of Martuni in the southeastern half of Karabakh. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_324

The attack force consisted of several dozen tanks and armored fighting vehicles along with a complement of several infantry companies massing along the Machkalashen and Jardar fronts near Martuni and Krasnyy Bazar. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_325

Martuni's regimental commander, Monte Melkonian, although lacking heavy armor, managed to stave off repeated attempts by the Azerbaijani forces. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_326

In late August 1992, Nagorno-Karabakh's government found itself in a disorderly state and its members resigned on 17 August. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_327

Power was subsequently assumed by a council called the State Defense Committee and chaired by Robert Kocharyan, which stated it would temporarily govern the enclave until the conflict ended. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_328

At the same time, Azerbaijan also launched attacks by fixed-wing aircraft, often bombing civilian targets. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_329

Kocharyan condemned what he believed were intentional attempts to kill civilians by the Azerbaijanis and also Russia's alleged passive and unconcerned attitude toward allowing its army's weapons stockpiles to be sold or transferred to Azerbaijan. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_330

Winter thaw First Nagorno-Karabakh War_section_22

As winter approached, both sides largely abstained from launching full-scale offensives so as to preserve resources, such as gas and electricity, for domestic use. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_331

Despite the opening of an economic highway to the residents living in Karabakh, both Armenia and the enclave suffered a great deal due to the economic blockades imposed by Azerbaijan. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_332

While not completely shut off, material aid sent through Turkey arrived sporadically. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_333

Experiencing both food shortages and power shortages, after the shutting down of the Metsamor nuclear power plant, Armenia's economic outlook appeared bleak: in Georgia, a new bout of civil wars against separatists in Abkhazia and Ossetia began, and supply convoys were raided and the only oil pipeline leading from Russia to Armenia was repeatedly destroyed. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_334

As in 1991–1992, the 1992–1993 winter was especially cold, as many families throughout Armenia and Karabakh were left without heating and hot water. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_335

Grain had become difficult to procure. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_336

The Armenian Diaspora raised money and donated supplies to Armenia. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_337

In December, two shipments of 33,000 tons of grain and 150 tons of infant formula arrived from the United States via the Black Sea port of Batumi, Georgia. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_338

In February 1993, the European Community sent 4.5 million ECUs to Armenia. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_339

Armenia's southern neighbor Iran also helped Armenia economically by providing power and electricity. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_340

Elchibey's acrimonious stance toward Iran and his remarks to unify with Iran's Azerbaijani minority alienated relations between the two countries. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_341

Azerbaijanis were displaced as internal and international refugees were forced to live in makeshift camps provided by both the Azerbaijan government and Iran. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_342

The International Red Cross also distributed blankets to the Azerbaijanis and noted that by December, enough food was being allocated for the refugees. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_343

Azerbaijan also struggled to rehabilitate its petroleum industry, the country's chief export. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_344

Its oil refineries were not generating at full capacity and production quotas fell well short of estimates. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_345

In 1965, the oil fields in Baku were producing 21.5 million tons of oil annually; by 1988, that number had dropped down to almost 3.3 million. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_346

Outdated Soviet refinery equipment and a reluctance by Western oil companies to invest in a war region where pipelines would routinely be destroyed prevented Azerbaijan from fully exploiting its oil wealth. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_347

Mid-1993 First Nagorno-Karabakh War_section_23

Conflicts First Nagorno-Karabakh War_section_24

Despite the gruelling winter, the new year was viewed enthusiastically by both sides. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_348

Azerbaijan's President Elchibey expressed optimism toward bringing an agreeable solution to the conflict with Armenia's Ter-Petrosyan. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_349

Glimmers of such hope quickly began to fade in January 1993, despite the calls for a new ceasefire by Boris Yeltsin and George H. W. Bush, as hostilities in the region brewed up once more. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_350

Armenian forces began a new bout of offensives that overran villages in northern Karabakh that had been held by the Azerbaijanis since the previous year. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_351

After Armenian losses in 1992, Russia started massive armament shipments to Armenia in the following year. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_352

Russia supplied Armenia with arms with a total cost of 1 billion USD in value in 1993. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_353

According to Russian general Lev Rokhlin, Russians supplied Armenians with such massive arms shipment in return for "money, personal contacts and lots of vodkas". First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_354

Frustration over these military defeats took a toll on the domestic front in Azerbaijan. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_355

Azerbaijan's military had grown more desperate and defence minister Gaziev and Huseynov's brigade turned to Russian help, a move which ran against Elchibey's policies and was construed as insubordination. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_356

Political infighting and arguments about where to shift military units between the country's ministry of the interior Isgandar Hamidov and Gaziev led to the latter's resignation on 20 February. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_357

Armenia was similarly wracked by political turmoil and growing Armenian dissension against President Ter-Petrosyan. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_358

Kalbajar First Nagorno-Karabakh War_section_25

Main article: Battle of Kalbajar First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_359

Situated west of northern Karabakh, outside the official boundaries of the region, was the rayon of Kalbajar, which bordered Armenia. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_360

With a population of about 60,000, the several dozen villages were made up of Azerbaijani and Kurds. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_361

In March 1993, the Armenian-held areas near the Sarsang reservoir in Mardakert were reported to have been coming under attack by the Azerbaijanis. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_362

After successfully defending the Martuni region, Melkonian's fighters were tasked to move to capture the region of Kalbajar, where the incursions and artillery shelling were said to have been coming from. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_363

Scant military opposition by the Azerbaijanis allowed Melkonian's fighters to gain a foothold in the region and along the way capture several abandoned armored vehicles and tanks. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_364

At 2:45 pm, on 2 April, Armenian forces from two directions advanced toward Kalbajar in an attack that struck Azerbaijani armor and troops entrenched near the Ganja-Kalbajar intersection. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_365

Azerbaijani forces were unable to halt the advances made by Armenian armor and were wiped out completely. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_366

The second attack toward Kalbajar also quickly overran the defenders. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_367

By 3 April, Armenian forces were in possession of Kalbajar. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_368

President Elchibey imposed a state of emergency for a period of two months and introduced universal conscription. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_369

On 30 April, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) passed Resolution 822, co-sponsored by Turkey and Pakistan, demanding the immediate cessation of all hostilities and the withdrawal of all occupying forces from Kalbajar. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_370

Human Rights Watch concluded that during the Kalbajar offensive Armenian forces committed numerous violations of the rules of war, including the forcible exodus of a civilian population, indiscriminate fire, and taking of hostages. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_371

The political repercussions were also felt in Azerbaijan when Huseynov embarked on his "march to Baku". First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_372

Frustrated with what he felt was Elchibey's incompetence and demoted from his rank of colonel, his brigade advanced in early June from its base in Ganja toward Baku with the explicit aim of unseating the president. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_373

Elchibey stepped down from office on 18 June and power was assumed by then parliamentary member Heydar Aliyev. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_374

On 1 July, Huseynov was appointed prime minister of Azerbaijan. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_375

As acting president, Aliyev disbanded 33 voluntary battalions of the Popular Front, which he deemed politically unreliable. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_376

Aliyev became the President of Azerbaijan on 10 October 1993. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_377

Agdam, Fizuli, Jabrail and Zangilan First Nagorno-Karabakh War_section_26

Main article: 1993 Summer Offensives First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_378

While the people of Azerbaijan were adjusting to the new political landscape, many Armenians were mourning Melkonian, who was killed earlier on 12 June in a skirmish with Azerbaijani light armor and infantry near the town of Merzuli and given a state funeral in Yerevan. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_379

The Armenian side made use of the political crisis in Baku, which had left the Karabakh front almost undefended by the Azerbaijani forces. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_380

The following four months of political instability in Azerbaijan led to the loss of control over five districts, as well as the north of Nagorno-Karabakh. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_381

Azerbaijani military forces were unable to put up much resistance in the face of Armenian advances and abandoned most of their positions without so much as putting up a fight. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_382

In late June, they were driven out from Mardakert, losing their final foothold of the enclave. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_383

By July, Armenian forces were preparing to attack and capture the region of Agdam, another rayon that fell outside of Nagorno-Karabakh, claiming that they were attempting to widen a barrier that would keep towns and villages and their positions out of the range of Azerbaijani artillery. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_384

On 4 July artillery bombardment commenced against Agdam by Armenian forces, destroying many parts of the town. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_385

Soldiers, along with civilians, began to evacuate Agdam. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_386

Facing military collapse, Aliyev attempted to mediate with the de facto Karabakh government and Minsk Group officials. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_387

In mid-August, Armenians massed a force to take the Azerbaijani-held regions of Fizuli and Jebrail, south of Nagorno-Karabakh proper. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_388

In light of the Armenians' advance into Azerbaijan, Turkey's prime minister Tansu Çiller, warned the Armenian government not to attack Nakhichevan and demanded that Armenians pull out of Azerbaijan's territories. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_389

Thousands of Turkish troops were sent to the border between Turkey and Armenia in early September. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_390

Russian Federation forces in Armenia, in turn, countered their movements and thus warded off the possible Turkish participation in the conflict. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_391

By early September, Azerbaijani forces were nearly in complete disarray. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_392

Many of the heavy weapons they had received and bought from the Russians had been taken out of action or abandoned during the battles. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_393

Since the June 1992 offensive, Armenian forces had captured dozens of tanks, light armor, and artillery from Azerbaijan. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_394

For example, according to Monte Melkonian in a television interview in March 1993, his forces in Martuni alone had captured or destroyed a total of 55 T-72s, 24 BMP-2s, 15 APCs and 25 heavy artillery pieces since the June 1992 Goranboy offensive. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_395

"Most of our arms," he stated, "[were] captured from Azerbaijan." First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_396

Serzh Sargsyan, the then military leader of the Karabakh armed forces, tallied a total of 156 tanks captured through the course of the war. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_397

By mid-1993, Armenian forces had captured so much equipment that many of them were praising Elchibey, since he was, in effect, arming both sides. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_398

Further signs of Azerbaijan's desperation included the recruitment by Aliyev of 1,000–1,500 Afghan and Arab mujahadeen fighters from Afghanistan. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_399

Although the Azerbaijani government denied this claim, correspondence and photographs captured by Armenian forces indicated otherwise. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_400

A United States-based petroleum company, MEGA OIL, also hired several American military trainers as a prerequisite for Azerbaijan to grant it drilling rights at its oil fields. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_401

Aerial warfare First Nagorno-Karabakh War_section_27

See also: Armenian Air Force, Azerbaijani Air Force, Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army § Air Force, and 1992 Azerbaijani Mil Mi-8 shootdown First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_402

The aerial warfare in Karabakh involved primarily fighter jets and attack helicopters. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_403

The primary transport helicopters of the war were the Mi-8 and its cousin, the Mi-17 and were used extensively by both sides. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_404

The most widely used helicopter gunship by both sides was the Soviet-made Mi-24 Krokodil. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_405

Armenia's active air force at the time consisted of only two Su-25 ground support bombers, one of which was lost due to friendly fire. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_406

There were also several Su-22s and Su-17s; these ageing craft took a backseat for the duration of the war. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_407

Azerbaijan's air force was composed of 45 combat aircraft which were often piloted by experienced Russian and Ukrainian mercenaries from the former Soviet military. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_408

They flew mission sorties over Karabakh with such sophisticated jets as the MiG-25 and Sukhoi Su-24 and with older-generation Soviet fighter bombers, such as the MiG-21. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_409

They were reported to have been paid a monthly salary of over 5,000 rubles and flew bombing campaigns from air force bases in Azerbaijan, often targeting Stepanakert. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_410

These pilots, like the men from the Soviet interior forces at the onset of the conflict, were also poor and took the jobs as a means of supporting their families. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_411

Several were shot down over the city by Armenian forces and according to one of the pilots' commanders, with assistance provided by the Russians. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_412

Many of these pilots risked the threat of execution by Armenian forces if they were shot down. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_413

The setup of the defence system severely hampered Azerbaijan's ability to carry out and launch more airstrikes. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_414

Azerbaijani fighter jets attacked civilian airplanes too. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_415

An Armenian civil aviation Yak-40 plane traveling Stepanakert Airport to Yerevan with 34 passengers and crew was attacked by an Azerbaijani Su-25. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_416

Though suffering engine failure and a fire in rear of the plane, it eventually made a safe landing in Armenian territory. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_417

Armenian and Azerbaijani aircraft equipment First Nagorno-Karabakh War_section_28

Below is a table listing the number of aircraft that were used by Armenia and Azerbaijan during the war. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_418

1993–1994 attack waves First Nagorno-Karabakh War_section_29

In October 1993, Aliyev was formally elected president of Azerbaijan and promised to bring social order to the country in addition to recapturing the lost regions. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_419

In October, Azerbaijan joined the CIS. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_420

The winter season was marked with similar conditions as in the previous year, both sides scavenging for wood and harvesting foodstuffs months in advance. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_421

Two subsequent UNSC resolutions on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict were passed, 874 and 884, in October and November. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_422

Reemphasizing the same points as the previous two, they acknowledged Nagorno-Karabakh as a region of Azerbaijan. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_423

In early January 1994, Azerbaijani forces and Afghan guerrillas recaptured part of the Fizuli district, including the railway junction of Horadiz on the Iranian border, but failed to recapture the town of Fizuli itself. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_424

On 10 January an offensive was launched by Azerbaijan toward the region of Mardakert in an attempt to recapture the northern section of the enclave. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_425

The offensive managed to advance and take back several parts of Karabakh in the north and to the south but soon petered out. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_426

In response, Armenia began sending conscripts and regular Army and Interior Ministry troops to stop the Azerbaijani advance in Karabakh. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_427

To bolster the ranks of its army, the Armenian government issued a decree that instituted a three-month call-up for men up to age 45 and resorted to press-gang raids to enlist recruits. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_428

Several active-duty Armenian Army soldiers were captured by the Azerbaijani forces. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_429

Azerbaijan's offensives grew more desperate as boys as young as 16, with little to no training, were recruited and sent to take part in ineffective human wave attacks (a tactic often compared to the one employed by Iran during the Iran–Iraq War). First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_430

The two offensives that took place in the winter cost Azerbaijan as many as 5,000 lives (at the loss of several hundred Armenians). First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_431

The main Azerbaijani offensive was aimed at recapturing the Kalbajar district, which would thus threaten the Lachin corridor. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_432

The attack initially met little resistance and was successful in capturing the vital Omar Pass. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_433

As the Armenian forces reacted, the bloodiest clashes of the war ensued and the Azerbaijani forces were soundly defeated. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_434

In a single clash, Azerbaijan lost about 1,500 of its soldiers after the failed offensive in Kalbajar. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_435

Several Azerbaijani brigades were isolated when the Armenians recaptured the Omar Pass, surrounded, then destroyed. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_436

While the political leadership changed hands several times in Azerbaijan, most Armenian soldiers in Karabakh claimed that the Azerbaijani youth and Azerbaijanis themselves, were demoralized and lacked a sense of purpose and commitment to fighting the war. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_437

Russian professor Georgiy I. Mirsky lent credence to this view in his 1997 book, On Ruins of Empire, stating that "Karabakh does not matter to Azerbaijanis as much as it does to Armenians. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_438

Probably, this is why young volunteers from Armenia proper have been much more eager to fight and die for Karabakh than the Azerbaijanis have." First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_439

This view received further validation in a report filed by a journalist from the New York Times visiting the region, who noted that "In Stepanakert, it is impossible to find an able-bodied man – whether volunteer from Armenia or local resident – out of uniform. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_440

[Whereas in] Azerbaijan, draft-age men hang out in cafes." First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_441

Andrei Sakharov famously remarked on this at the outset of the conflict: "For Azerbaijan, the issue of Karabakh is a matter of ambition, for the Armenians of Karabakh, it is a matter of life or death." First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_442

1994 ceasefire First Nagorno-Karabakh War_section_30

Main article: Bishkek Protocol First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_443

After six years of intense fighting, both sides were ready for a ceasefire. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_444

Azerbaijan, with its manpower exhausted and aware that Armenian forces had an unimpeded path to march on to Baku, counted on a new ceasefire proposal from either the OSCE or Russia. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_445

As the final battles of the conflict took place near Shahumyan, in a series of brief engagements in Gulustan, Armenian and Azerbaijani diplomats met in the early part of 1994 to hammer out the details of the ceasefire. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_446

On 5 May, with Russia acting as a mediator, all parties agreed to cease hostilities and vowed to observe a ceasefire that would go into effect at 12:01 AM on 12 May. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_447

The agreement was signed by the respective defence ministers of the three principal warring parties (Armenia, Azerbaijan and the Republic of Artsakh). First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_448

In Azerbaijan, many welcomed the end of hostilities. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_449

Sporadic fighting continued in some parts of the region but all sides vowed to abide by the terms of the ceasefire. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_450

Media coverage First Nagorno-Karabakh War_section_31

Valuable footage of the conflict was provided by a number of journalists from both sides, including Vardan Hovhannisyan, who won the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival's prize for a best new documentary filmmaker for his A Story of People in War and Peace, and Chingiz Mustafayev, who was posthumously awarded the title of National Hero of Azerbaijan. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_451

Armenian-Russian journalist Dmitri Pisarenko who spent a year at the front line and filmed many of the battles later wrote that both Armenian and Azerbaijani journalists were preoccupied with echoing the official stands of their respective governments and that "objectiveness was being sacrificed for ideology." First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_452

Armenian military commanders were eager to give interviews following Azerbaijani offensives when they were able to criticise the other side for launching heavy artillery attacks that the "small-numbered but proud Armenians" had to fight off. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_453

Yet they were reluctant to speak out when Armenian troops seized a village outside Nagorno-Karabakh in order to avoid justifying such acts. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_454

Therefore, Armenian journalists felt the need to be creative enough to portray the event as "an Armenian counter-offensive" or as "a necessary military operation". First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_455

Bulgarian journalist Tsvetana Paskaleva is noted for her coverage of Operation Ring. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_456

Some foreign journalists previously concerned with emphasizing the Soviet conceding in the Cold War, gradually shifted towards presenting the USSR as a country swamped by a wave of ethnic conflicts, the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict being one of them. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_457

Due to lack of available information about the roots and causes of the conflict, foreign reporters filled the information vacuum with constant references to the religious factor, i.e. the fact that Armenians were predominantly Christian, whereas Azeris were predominantly Muslim; a factor which in fact was virtually irrelevant in the course of the entire conflict. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_458

Readers already aware of rising military Islamism in the Middle East were considered a perfect audience to be informed of a case of "Muslim oppressors victimising a Christian minority". First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_459

Religion was unduly stressed more than political, territorial and ethnic factors, with very rare references to democratic and self-determination movements in both countries. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_460

It was not until the Khojaly Massacre in late February 1992, when hundreds of civilian Azeris were massacred by Armenian units, that references to religion largely disappeared, as being contrary to the neat journalistic scheme where "Christian Armenians" were shown as victims and "Muslim Azeris" as their victimisers. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_461

A study of the four largest Canadian newspapers covering the event showed that the journalists tended to present the massacre of Azeris as a secondary issue, as well as to rely on Armenian sources, to give priority to Armenian denials over Azerbaijani "allegations" (which were described as "grossly exaggerated"), to downplay the scale of death, not to publish images of the bodies and mourners, and not to mention the event in editorials and opinion columns. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_462

Post-ceasefire violence and mediation First Nagorno-Karabakh War_section_32

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict remains one of several frozen conflicts in the former Soviet Union, alongside Georgia's breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Moldova's troubles with Transnistria and Ukraine's war with Russian-backed separatists and the Russian occupation of Crimea. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_463

Karabakh remains under the jurisdiction of the government of the unrecognized but de facto independent Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh (now the Republic of Artsakh), which maintains its own uniformed military, the Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_464

Contrary to media reports that nearly always mentioned the religions of the Armenians and Azerbaijanis, religious aspects never gained significance as an additional casus belli, and the Karabakh conflict has remained primarily an issue of territory and the human rights of Armenians in Karabakh. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_465

Since 1995, the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group has been mediating with the governments of Armenia and Azerbaijan for a new solution. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_466

Numerous proposals have been made which have primarily been based on both sides making several concessions. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_467

One such proposal stipulated that as Armenian forces withdrew from the seven regions surrounding Karabakh, Azerbaijan would share some of its economic assets including profits from an oil pipeline that would go from Baku through Armenia to Turkey. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_468

Other proposals also included that Azerbaijan would provide the broadest form of autonomy to Karabakh next to granting it full independence. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_469

Armenia has also been pressured by being excluded from major economic projects throughout the region, including the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline and Kars-Tbilisi-Baku railway. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_470

According to Armenia's former president, Levon Ter-Petrosyan, by giving certain Karabakh territories to Azerbaijan, the Karabakh conflict would have been resolved in 1997. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_471

A peace agreement could have been concluded and a status for Nagorno-Karabakh would have been determined. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_472

Ter-Petrosyan noted years later that the Karabakh leadership approach was maximalist and "they thought they could get more." First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_473

Most autonomy proposals have been rejected by the Armenians, who consider it as a matter that is not negotiable. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_474

Likewise, Azerbaijan warns the country is ready to free its territories by war, but still prefers to solve the problem by peaceful means. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_475

On 30 March 1998, Robert Kocharyan was elected president and continued to reject calls for making a deal to resolve the conflict. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_476

In 2001, Kocharyan and Aliyev met in Key West, Florida for peace talks sponsored by the OSCE. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_477

While several Western diplomats expressed optimism, failure to prepare the populations of either country for compromise reportedly thwarted hopes for a peaceful resolution. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_478

Refugees displaced from the fighting amount to nearly one million people. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_479

An estimated 400,000 Armenians living in Azerbaijan fled to Armenia or Russia and a further 30,000 came from Karabakh. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_480

Many of those who left Karabakh returned after the war ended. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_481

An estimated 800,000 Azerbaijanis were displaced from the fighting including those from both Armenia and Karabakh. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_482

Various other ethnic groups living in Karabakh were also forced to live in refugee camps built by both the Azerbaijani and Iranian governments. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_483

While Azerbaijan has repeatedly claimed that 20% of its territory has fallen under Armenian control, other sources have given figures as high 40% (the number comes down to 9% if Nagorno-Karabakh itself is excluded). First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_484

The First Nagorno-Karabakh War has given rise to strong anti-Armenianism in Azerbaijan and anti-Azerbaijani sentiment in Armenia. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_485

The ramifications of the war were said to have played a part in the February 2004 murder of Armenian Lieutenant Gurgen Markaryan who was hacked to death with an axe by his Azerbaijani counterpart, Ramil Safarov at a NATO training seminar in Budapest, Hungary. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_486

Presumably trying to erase any traces of Armenian heritage, the Azerbaijani government ordered its military the destruction of thousands of unique medieval Armenian gravestones, known as khachkars, at a massive historical cemetery in Julfa, Nakhichevan. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_487

This destruction was temporarily halted when first revealed in 1998, but then continued on to completion in 2005. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_488

Current situation First Nagorno-Karabakh War_section_33

Further information: Madrid Principles, Prague Process (Armenian–Azerbaijani negotiations), Nagorno-Karabakh Declaration, and Landmine situation in Nagorno-Karabakh First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_489

In the years since the end of the war, a number of organizations have passed resolutions regarding the conflict. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_490

On 25 January 2005, for example, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) adopted a controversial non-binding resolution, Resolution 1416, which criticized the "large-scale ethnic expulsion and the creation of mono-ethnic areas" and declared that Armenian forces were occupying Azerbaijan lands. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_491

The Assembly recalled that the occupation of a foreign country by a Member State was a serious violation of the obligations undertaken by that State as a member of the Council of Europe and once again reaffirmed the right of displaced persons to return to their homes safely. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_492

On 14 May 2008 thirty-nine countries from the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 62/243 which called for "the immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of all Armenian forces from all occupied territories of the Republic of Azerbaijan". First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_493

Almost one hundred countries abstained from voting while seven countries, including the three co-chairs of the Minsk Group, Russia, the United States and France, voted against it. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_494

During the summit of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and the session of its Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, member states adopted OIC Resolution No. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_495 10/11 and OIC Council of Foreign Ministers Resolution No. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_496 10/37, on 14 March 2008 and 18–20 May 2010, respectively. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_497

Both resolutions condemned alleged aggression of Armenia against Azerbaijan and called for immediate implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions 822, 853, 874 and 884. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_498

As a response, Armenian leaders have stated Azerbaijan was "exploiting Islam to muster greater international support". First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_499

In 2008, the Moscow Defense Brief opined that because of the rapid growth of Azerbaijani defence expenditures – which is driving the strong rearmament of the Azerbaijani armed forces – the military balance appeared to be now shifting in Azerbaijan's favour: "...The overall trend is clearly in Azerbaijan's favour, and it seems that Armenia will not be able to sustain an arms race with Azerbaijan's oil-fueled economy. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_500

And this could lead to the destabilization of the frozen conflict between these two states," the journal wrote. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_501

Other analysts have made more cautious observations, noting that administrative and military deficiencies are obviously found in the Azerbaijani military and that the Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army maintains a "constant state of readiness..." First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_502

Clashes First Nagorno-Karabakh War_section_34

Further information: 2016 Nagorno-Karabakh skirmishes First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_503

In early 2008, tensions between Armenia, the NKR Karabakh and Azerbaijan grew. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_504

On the diplomatic front, President Ilham Aliyev repeated statements that Azerbaijan would resort to force, if necessary, to take the territories back; concurrently, shooting incidents along the line of contact increased. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_505

On 5 March 2008 a significant breach of the ceasefire occurred in Mardakert when up to sixteen soldiers were killed. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_506

Both sides accused the other of starting the battle. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_507

Moreover, the use of artillery in the skirmishes marked a significant departure from previous clashes, which usually involved only sniper or machine-gun fire. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_508

Deadly skirmishes took place during mid-2010 as well. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_509

Tensions escalated again in July–August 2014 with ceasefire breaches by Azerbaijan taking place and President Aliyev, threatening Armenia with war. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_510

Rather than receding, the tension in the area increased in April 2016 with the 2016 Nagorno-Karabakh clashes when the worst clashes since the 1994 ceasefire erupted. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_511

The Armenian Defense Ministry alleged that Azerbaijan launched an offensive to seize territory in the region. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_512

Azerbaijan reported that 12 of its soldiers were killed in action and that an Mi-24 helicopter and tank were also destroyed. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_513

Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan stated that 18 Armenian soldiers were killed and 35 were wounded. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_514

2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war First Nagorno-Karabakh War_section_35

Main article: 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_515

The clashes began on the morning of 27 September 2020 along the Nagorno-Karabakh Line of Contact. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_516

In response to the clashes, Armenia and Artsakh introduced martial law and total mobilization, while Azerbaijan introduced martial law and a curfew. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_517

On 28 September, partial mobilization was declared in Azerbaijan. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_518

Engagements were characterised by the use of heavy artillery, armoured warfare, rocket attacks, and drone warfare, as well as by emerging accounts of the use of cluster munitions, banned by most of the international community but not by Armenia or Azerbaijan, and ballistic missile attacks on civilian populations. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_519

The amount of territory contested has been relatively restricted, but the conflict has expanded beyond the borders of Nagorno-Karabakh due to the kind of munitions deployed and spilled over international borders. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_520

Shells and rockets have landed in East Azerbaijan Province in Iran, though causing no damage, and Iran has downed several unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), while Georgia stated that two UAVs crashed in Kakheti Province. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_521

As claims of Syrian fighters taking part in the conflict have surfaced, Azerbaijan was quick to deny. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_522

According the Syrian National Army (SNA), Turkey, and geolocated videos, Turkish backed Syrian mercenary groups, such as the Sultan Murad and Al Hamza divisions, are fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh in aid of Azerbaijan. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_523

Civilian and military casualties have been high and may be being underestimated as casualty claims have not been independently verified. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_524

Civilian areas, including major cities, have been hit, including Azerbaijan's second-largest city, Ganja, and the region's capital, Stepanakert, with many buildings and homes destroyed; Ghazanchetsots Cathedral in Shusha has been damaged. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_525

A fragile humanitarian ceasefire brokered by Russia, facilitated by the International Committee of the Red Cross, and agreed to by both Armenia and Azerbaijan, formally came into effect on 10 October. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_526

On 9 October 2020, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet expressed alarm over the suffering of civilians, as hostilities continued to widen in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone, and appealed for an urgent ceasefire. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_527

The UN report suggest that artillery strikes have reportedly hit several cities, towns and villages, destroying a large number of buildings, including houses, schools and other civilian facilities. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_528

On 2 November 2020, Michelle Bachelet, warned of possible war crimes in the ongoing fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_529

The UN Chief cited that despite a truce signed between Armenia and Azerbaijan, which called for refraining from deliberately targeting civilian populations, artillery strikes and indiscriminate attacks in populated areas continued. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_530

The second war ended with the victory of Azerbaijan, which took control of 4 Armenian-occupied districts, as well as towns of Shusha and Hadrut in Nagorno-Karabakh proper, and signing of a Russian-brokered ceasefire agreement, under which Armenia agreed to withdraw from another 3 occupied districts. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_531

The agreement also provided for deployment of Russian peacekeeping forces along the line of contact and the Lachin corridor. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_532

Misconduct First Nagorno-Karabakh War_section_36

See also: Refugees in Azerbaijan First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_533

Emerging from the collapse of the Soviet Union as nascent states and due to the near-immediate fighting, it was not until mid-1993 that Armenia and Azerbaijan became signatories of international law agreements, including the Geneva Conventions. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_534

Allegations from all three governments (including Nagorno-Karabakh's) regularly accused the other side of committing atrocities which were at times confirmed by third party media sources or human rights organizations. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_535

Khojaly Massacre, for example, was confirmed by both Human Rights Watch and Memorial. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_536

The Maraga Massacre was testified to by British-based organization Christian Solidarity International and by the Vice-Speaker of the British Parliament's House of Lords, Caroline Cox, in 1992. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_537

Azerbaijan was condemned by HRW for its use of aerial bombing in densely populated civilian areas and both sides were criticized for indiscriminate fire, hostage-taking, and the forcible displacement of civilians. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_538

The pogrom of Armenians in Baku was one of the acts of ethnic violence in the context of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_539

The lack of international laws for either side to abide by virtually sanctioned activity in the war to what would be considered war crimes. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_540

Looting and mutilation (body parts such as ears, brought back from the front as treasured war souvenirs) of dead soldiers were commonly reported and even boasted about among soldiers. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_541

Another practice that took form, not by soldiers but by regular civilians during the war, was the bartering of prisoners between Armenians and Azerbaijanis. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_542

Often, when contact was lost between family members and a soldier or a militiaman serving at the front, they took it upon themselves to organize an exchange by personally capturing a soldier from the battle lines and holding them in the confines of their own homes. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_543

New York Times journalist Yo'av Karny noted this practice was as "old as the people occupying [the] land". First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_544

After the war ended, both sides accused their opponents of continuing to hold captives; Azerbaijan claimed Armenia was continuing to hold nearly 5,000 Azerbaijani prisoners while Armenians claimed Azerbaijan was holding 600 prisoners. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_545

The non-profit group, Helsinki Initiative 92, investigated two prisons in Shusha and Stepanakert after the war ended, but concluded there were no prisoners-of-war there. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_546

A similar investigation arrived at the same conclusion while searching for Armenians allegedly labouring in Azerbaijan's quarries. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_547

Cultural legacy First Nagorno-Karabakh War_section_37

The conflict has come to be represented in different forms of media in Armenia and Azerbaijan. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_548

In June 2006, the film Chakatagir (Destiny) premiered in Yerevan and Stepanakert. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_549

The film stars and is written by Gor Vardanyan and is a fictionalized account of the events revolving around Operation Ring. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_550

It cost $3.8 million to make, the most expensive film ever made in the country, and was the first film made about the First Nagorno-Karabakh War. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_551

In mid-2012, Azerbaijanis in Azerbaijan released a video game entitled İşğal Altında: Şuşa (Under Occupation: Shusha), a free first person shooter that allows the player to assume the role of an Azerbaijani soldier who takes part in the 1992 battle of Shusha. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_552

Commentators have noted that the game "is not for the faint of heart: there's lots of killing and computer-generated gore. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_553

To a great extent, it's a celebration of violence: to advance, players must handle a variety of tasks, including shooting lots of Armenian enemies, rescuing a wounded Azerbaijani soldier, retrieving a document, and blowing up a building in the town of Shusha." First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_554

Another opus followed, İşğal Altında: Ağdam, which was released in 2013. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_555

This episode is very similar to the previous one, but this time it takes place in Agdam. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_556

In April 2018, a documentary film about an Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh War participant Imran Gurbanov, called Return was premiered in Baku. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_557

It was directed by Rufat Asadov and written by Orkhan Fikratoglu. First Nagorno-Karabakh War_sentence_558


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First Nagorno-Karabakh War.