BAKU, Azerbaijan

The Muslim call to prayer, known as the adhan, was heard Wednesday in Nagorno-Karabakh’s symbolic city of Shusha for the first time in nearly three decades. 

Footage on social media showed an Azerbaijani soldier reciting the adhan at Shusha’s historical Yukhari Govhar Agha Mosque.

Shusha, which was occupied by Armenian forces on May 8, 1992, is a strategically important city in the Upper Karabakh region, also known as Nagorno-Karabakh, which is an internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan. It is located on the road to Khankendi, the region’s largest city.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev announced on Nov. 8 that Shusha had been liberated from Armenian occupation.

“After 28 years, the adhan [call to prayer] will be heard in Shusha,” Aliyev, wearing a military uniform, said in an address to the nation.

Relations between the ex-Soviet republics have been tense since 1991, when the Armenian military occupied Upper Karabakh, also known as Nagorno-Karabakh, a territory recognized as part of Azerbaijan.

Fresh clashes erupted on Sept. 27, and the Armenian army continued its attacks on civilians and Azerbaijani forces, even violating humanitarian cease-fire agreements, for 44 days.

Baku liberated several cities and nearly 300 of its settlements and villages from Armenian occupation during this time.

On Nov. 10, the two countries signed a Russia-brokered agreement to end the fighting and work towards a comprehensive resolution.

Turkey welcomed the truce, which resulted from Baku’s military successes against Yerevan.

*Writing by Merve Aydogan

Azerbaijan: Muslim prayer call resounds across Shusha

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