Seventeen years have passed since the occupation of the Azerbaijani Zangilan region by the Armenian Armed Forces.
Zangilan didn't bow down to enemy from 1988 till November 1993 and resisted the enemy attacks, losing hundreds of martyrs. It was the latest occupied region of Azerbaijan by Armenians.
The Zangilan region's population being surrounded after occupation of the Gubadli and Jabrayil regions saw a way out in crossing the Araz River to get to the Iranian territory. Otherwise one could not avoid a repetition of the Khojaly tragedy.
The Zangilan region was formed in 1930 as an administrative and territorial unit. It borders Gubadly in the north, Jabrayil in the east, Iran in the south and Armenia in the west.
During the first Karabakh war Zangilan lost 188 people. So far, the region's 44 residents are among missing peoples.
This region is of strategic importance as it is located along the Baku-Nakhchivan-Julfa railway.
Until occupation 35,000 people were living in Zangilan region, which covers an area of 707 sq. km. The basis of the region's economy was agriculture - winegrowing, tobacco cultivation and livestock.
The Zangilan region, which included 1 city, 1 settlement and 83 villages, had 9 preschool institutions, 19 primary and 15 secondary schools, one vocational school, one music school, 35 libraries, 8 cultural centers, 23 club-houses and 22 film projector units.
The largest plane forest in Europe was also located in the region. Unfortunately, Armenians are cutting these plane trees and selling to foreign countries. Valuable trees, molybdenum, marble, gold, granite and other mineral resources are also currently being plundered by Armenians.
There are facts that the Basitcay State Nature Reserve established in 1974 in the region is in a sad state. The Armenians cut down valuable trees growing on the reserve and use them in the furniture industry. Zangilan's territory is also rich in archaeological and architectural monuments, the largest of which is the ruins of the medieval city, known as "Shahri Sharifam".Now Zangilan's residents exiled from their homelands reside in different parts of the country. Like other IDPs, the region's residents also are surrounded by care of the state. Significant steps have been taken to improve their living conditions. However, this attention didn't push aside the desire of Zangilan's residents to return to their homes, further increased their hope to return to their motherland. They believe in the day when they will return to Zangilan under the Azerbaijani President, Supreme Commander Ilham Aliyev's leadership.