New York Times publishes article on destructions of Azerbaijani Fuzuli, Aghdam as result of occupation
BAKU, Azerbaijan, Dec. 12
The New York Times has published an article of Carlotta Gall and Anton Troianovski named “After Nagorno-Karabakh War, Trauma, Tragedy and Devastation”, Trend reports citing the article.
The authors visited Azerbaijani Fuzuli district liberated from occupation and write that crossing into territory that Azerbaijan recently recaptured from Armenia is a journey into a devastated wasteland reminiscent of a World War I battlefield. The road passes miles of abandoned trenches and bunkers, and village after village of ruins, the white stones of homesteads scattered, every movable item — roofs, doors, window frames — picked clean.
“Wrecked Armenian tanks and armor lay beside the road and in hilltop positions, testament to the devastating power of Azerbaijani drones. Abandoned uniforms and equipment signal a panicked retreat by Armenian soldiers as Azerbaijani forces seized control of the district in early November,” the article said.
Decades after the surrounding territory was seized by Armenia, the town of Fizuli, once a prosperous agricultural settlement of some 30,000 people, has become a forest, its ruined public buildings smothered by trees and undergrowth. The fate of the larger town of Aghdam, further north, is even more stark, its buildings split open to the skies on a desiccated plain, its main bridge destroyed. A six-year war ended in 1994 with Armenia claiming not just Nagorno-Karabakh but also great swaths of surrounding territory, and driving more than 800,000 Azerbaijanis into exile.
The author then wrote that Armenian soldiers, asked about the war, fixed on the horrors of Azerbaijan’s “suicide drones” that hovered over the battlefield, waiting for a target. The ordnance was so precise that Armenian soldiers operating battle tanks would drive onto the battlefield, fire off a round and jump out and run for cover, the soldiers said.
Then the author quoted Nureddin Namazaliyev who recalled that his cousin, who was held by Armenian forces as a prisoner of war, was forced to work dismantling houses in Aghdam. The stone, famous for its golden color, was sold, he said.
Vagif Hasanov, 61, the mayor of Aghdam, expressed his view to the author of why Armenian forces destroyed the city. The graceful 19th-century central mosque is the only building left standing in Aghdam. Defiled by Armenian graffiti, it was used as a cowshed. The fine vineyards had been uprooted and turned to dust.
“Azerbaijan’s officials have pledged to offer reconciliation and equal status to Armenians living on its territory. Some Armenians now acknowledge that opportunities for a lasting peace were lost over decades of halting and unproductive peace talks. Mediators tried to at least allow Azerbaijanis to return and resettle some of the outlying districts such as Aghdam and Fizuli. But for years Armenia held on to them, seeing them as a bargaining chip for independence or secession for Nagorno-Karabakh. Azerbaijan’s leaders considered, but in the end never could agree, to letting go of Nagorno-Karabakh,” the author said.
The deadlock was complicated by Armenian politicians and activists around the world increasingly taking the position — disputed by Azerbaijanis — that all of the captured lands were rightfully Armenian. And when Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan traveled to Nagorno-Karabakh — known in Armenia as Artsakh — in August 2019 and declared that “Artsakh is Armenia,”.
For years, foundations funded by members of the Armenian diaspora have pushed for Armenian settlement of the occupied regions of Azerbaijan outside the core of Nagorno-Karabakh, arguing that they are also Armenia’s rightful lands, the author wrote.