The liberation of the strategically important city of Shushu gave way to street celebrations as the Azerbaijani president made the announcement on national television.
Thousands of Azerbaijanis went out to celebrate the defeat of Armenian forces in the key town that was occupied on May 8, 1992.
In the capital Baku, people hoisted Turkish and Azerbaijani flags. While some danced on the streets, others drove back and forth in vehicles to mark the victory.
Many were unable to hold back their tears of joy.
Shusha is located on the road to Khankendi, the region’s largest city. It is a part of the Nagorno-Karabakh, or Upper Karabakh region, which is an internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan.
The city is also known as one of the symbols of Azerbaijani history and culture. Many prominent Azerbaijani musicians, composers, and scholars were born here.
Relations between the two former Soviet republics over Karabakh remain tense since 1991 but fresh clashes broke out on Sept. 27.
Thereafter, Armenia has repeatedly attacked Azerbaijani civilians and forces, even violating three humanitarian cease-fire agreements.
About 20% of Azerbaijan’s territory – including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions – has been under Armenian occupation for nearly three decades.
While world powers have called for a sustainable cease-fire, Turkey has supported Baku’s right to self-defense and demanded the withdrawal of Armenia’s occupying forces.
Multiple UN resolutions also call for unconditional withdrawal of the invading forces.
*Writing by Merve Aydogan
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