On Tuesday Azerbaijan will mark the 19th anniversary of the occupation of the Lachin region of Azerbaijan by Armenia.
On May 18, 1992, the Armenian occupiers destroyed hundreds of cultural facilities, tens of settlements, villages and historical monuments. Some 63,341 Azerbaijani citizens were driven out their home lands as a result of the occupation. Lachin region includes 121 villages with a total space of 1,835 cu. m. More than 300 military men and civilians were killed or missing during the occupation of the Lachin region. There are 8,950 buildings, 7 industrial and construction enterprises, 471 service facilities, 154 schools and hundreds of cultural and historical monuments left in the occupied lands.
On May 8, 1992, after the occupation of Shusha city of Azerbaijan, Armenian armed forces, having occupied settlements around Lachin, fired intensive shells to the center of the region. On a night from May 16 to 17, 1992, starting their occupation from the place named Turshsu (Shusha city) and Gor region of Armenia, Armenians armed forces occupied Lachin region. Majority of the enemy forces could get into the region through Lachin corridor.
At that time, the key part of the Azerbaijani armed forces withdrawn from Lachin and surrounding regions, were fighting the political confrontation in the capital city of the country. The Army taking part in the military demonstrations in Baku did not have a control over the positions in the front-line which resulted in the occupation of Lachin region of Azerbaijan following other regions. The occupation of Lachin, region of great geo-strategic significance, dealt a serious blow to the economy of Azerbaijan.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan since 1992, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and 7 surrounding districts. Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994.
The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group - Russia, France, and the U.S. - are currently holding the peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council's resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh region and the occupied territories.