The Azerbaijani army liberated another 13 villages from Armenia’s nearly three-decade-long occupation, the country’s president said on Wednesday.
“Victorious Armed Forces of Azerbaijan have liberated from occupation Birinji Agali, Ikinji Agali, Uchunju Agali and Zerneli villages of Zengilan, Mandili village of Fuzuli, Gazanzemi, Khanabulag, Jullu, Gushchular and Garaaghaj villages of Jabrayil, Giyasli, Edilje and Gilijan villages of Gubadli. Long live Azerbaijan’s Armed Forces! Karabakh is Azerbaijan!” Ilham Aliyev said on Twitter.
Aliyev has so far announced that over 130 villages, four cities, and several settlements as well as strategic locations have been liberated from Armenia’s occupation.
He also conveyed condolences to the families of those who lost lives in the recent missile attack by the Armenian forces in the city center of Barda district.
“May Allah rest in peace souls of those who died as a result of Armenia’s armed forces’ missile attack on Barda. I offer condolences to families and wish recovery to injured. Residents of Barda will be avenged and the occupiers will have a befitting retaliation on battlefield,” Aliyev said.
At least 21 civilians were killed and nearly 70 others injured in Wednesday’s missile attack by the Armenian forces on Barda.
The cluster Smerch missiles, which are prohibited by international law, were fired at around 1 p.m. local time [0900GMT] targeting the densely populated area with commercial establishments in Barda, Azerbaijan’s Prosecutor General’s Office said in a statement.
Civilian infrastructure and vehicles in the city were also severely damaged, it added.
This follows Tuesday’s attacks that killed at least five civilians and injured 10 as Armenia continues to flout numerous cease-fires.
Since the clashes erupted on Sept. 27, Armenia has repeatedly attacked Azerbaijani civilians and forces, even violating three humanitarian cease-fires since Oct. 10.
Nearly 3-decade occupation
Relations between the two former Soviet republics have been tense since 1991, when the Armenian military occupied Upper Karabakh.
Four UN Security Council resolutions and two from the UN General Assembly, as well as international organizations, demand the “immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of the occupying forces” from the occupied Azerbaijani territory.
In total, about 20% of Azerbaijan’s territory – including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions – has been under illegal Armenian occupation for nearly three decades.
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group – co-chaired by France, Russia, and the US – was formed in 1992 to find a peaceful solution to the conflict, but to no avail. A cease-fire, however, was agreed to in 1994.
World powers, including Russia, France, and the US have called for a sustainable cease-fire. Turkey, meanwhile, has supported Baku’s right to self-defense and demanded the withdrawal of Armenia’s occupying forces.
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