Baku, Azerbaijan, Aug. 23
Today marks the 24th anniversary of the occupation of Azerbaijan’s Fuzuli and Jabrayil districts by the Armenian armed forces, as part of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
On August 23, 1993, some 51 villages and the center of the Fuzuli district were seized by Armenians, as a result of which over 55,000 residents left their native land.
The district covers a territory stretching from the southeastern slopes of the Karabakh mountain range to the Araz River. It borders with Azerbaijani districts of Khojavand, Jabrayil, Aghjabadi, Beylagan, as well as Iran along the Araz River.
The area of the Fuzuli district is 1,386 sq. km. Some 13 settlements and 20 villages are located in this district’s territory, freed from the occupation. Twelve of the settlements, constructed after liberation, accommodate the internally displaced families.
Since 1988, the Fuzuli district has been facing constant Armenian attacks. As a result of the occupation, over 1,100 residents of Fuzuli became martyrs, 113 were taken hostages and 1,450 were left handicapped.
Azerbaijani Ecology and Natural Resources Ministry’s Operative Center, which inspects the devastating impact of the occupation on environmental and natural resources of Azerbaijan, found out that Armenians destroyed natural resources in the Fuzuli district during the occupation period.
Armenians cut down virtually all the trees in the Dovlatyarli village, and destroyed green spaces along the roads in the Gochahmadli and Yaglivand villages.
After the occupation of the Jabrayil district, which has a territory of 1,050 sq. km, some 72 secondary schools, eight hospitals, five mosques, two museums, 129 historical monuments and 149 cultural centers were left in the occupation zone. Some 61,100 IDPs from the Jabrayil district were settled in over 2,000 settlements in 58 districts across Azerbaijan.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.
The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.
On the night of Apr. 2, 2016, all the frontier positions of Azerbaijan were subjected to heavy fire from Armenian armed forces. As a result of artillery shelling of Azerbaijan’s settlements, located near the line of contact, six civilians were killed, including two children aged under 16, and 26 people were seriously injured.
During the four days of fighting, Azerbaijani Armed Forces liberated the heights near the Talish village, as well as the Seysulan settlement. Azerbaijan took over control of the Lele Tepe strategic height, located near the Fuzuli district, which allows controlling a large territory. Also, as a result of the April battles, the Azerbaijani Armed Forces took under control the roads in the Aghdere-Madaghiz direction.
The military operations were later stopped upon mutual agreement of the sides.