Damage to buildings in Stepanakert


YEREVAN (Combined Sources) — Fighting continues in Armenia and Karabakh. The following is a recap of some of the weekend’s events.

  • According to Armenia’s Defense Ministry Spokesperson Shushan Stepanyan, who has an active Twitter account, fighting continues along the #Artsakh#Azerbaijani entire line of contact. The most pitched battles are taking place in the north and far south.

She and the other members of the government refuted claims by the Azerbaijani government that the Armed Forces of Armenia have targeted Khizi and Apsheron in Azerbaijan. “This is another lie that explicitly proves Azerbaijan is preparing ground for provocation,” she wrote on Twitter on October 4.

Armenia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs is suggesting that Azerbaijan is “preparing the ground” for the escalation of the war through a campaign of misinformation and falsifications. “The aim of the disinformation campaign launched by Azerbaijan is to cover up the massive shelling of large settlements in Artsakh by the Azerbaijani Armed Forces from the very first days of the war,” said Armenia’s MFA spokesperson Anna Naghdalyan.

“The aggression of Azerbaijan against Artsakh with the support of Turkey and the involvement of the foreign terrorist fighters has been accompanied by the campaign of fake news and disinformation which goes beyond the limits of common sense.

The recent disinformation about the alleged strikes from the territory of Armenia to the Azerbaijani settlements is case in point.

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The aim of this disinformation campaign is to cover up the massive shelling of the large settlements of Nagorno-Karabakh by Azerbaijan since the first day of the war, which resulted in many losses among the civil population, while serious damage was inflicted upon the essential civilian infrastructure.

“Each provocation by the Azerbaijani side will receive an adequate response from the Republic of Armenia,” added Naghdalyan.


  • Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan gave several international interviews, including with the Globe and Mail (Canada), France 24 and Le Monde (France) and Bild (Germany).

He actively linked Turkey’s involvement with the Armenian Genocide of a century ago.

“Azerbaijani-Turkish bandits are not here to deal with Karabakh or the Karabakh issue. They have not come with the objective of capturing villages, cities. Their key target is the Armenian nation. And they have set themselves the task of bringing to completion #ArmenianGenocide,” he wrote on Twitter on October 4.

In an interview with the French daily Le Figaro, he said Armenia has proof that Turkey is supporting Azerbaijan militarily.

“We have proof. Russia, France and Iran have already recognized the involvement of the Turkish army in the large-scale offensive launched against Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh),September 27. Senior Turkish officials have publicly confirmed their support for Azerbaijan, in political and diplomatic terms, but also on the battlefield. They are using drones and Turkish F-16s to bomb civilian areas in Nagorno-Karabakh. The international community, especially the American public, should be aware that US-made F-16s are currently being used to kill Armenians in this conflict. There is evidence that Turkish military commanders are directly involved in leading the offensive. Ankara provided Baku with military vehicles, weapons, and advisers

“I think that the current situation is no longer a local security issue and has become a global issue,” Pashinyan said, noting that Turkish servicemen are also involved in this process and this is the demonstration of the Turkish imperialistic policy. “These are actions aimed at the restoration of the Turkish Empire, which are in the same logic as Turkey’s activities in the Mediterranean, Middle East and Libya’’, he said.

To the question what are the motives of Turkey to support Azerbaijan, Pashinyan answered, “I already said that that’s the result of Turkey’s and Erdogan’s imperialistic policy. And I think that in most probability there is a task of depriving Azerbaijan of sovereignty so as it can be swallowed by Turkey,’’Pashinyan said,  emplacing that Armenians are the last obstacle on the way of Turkey to north, south-east, and east.

“If the international community does not react to all this adequately, they should be ready to wait for Turkey near Vienna,’’ Pashinyan said, adding that the European countries should clearly condemn violence, the launch of violence and the joint aggression of Azerbaijan, Turkey and terrorists against Nagorno Karabakh and Artsakh.

“A ceasefire can be established only if Turkey is removed from the South Caucasus,” he added in an interview with the Globe and Mail.

France has also alleged such deployment, with President Emmanuel Macron saying that at least 300 “Syrian fighters from jihadist groups” were flown from Turkey to Azerbaijan ahead of the flare-up of violence in Karabakh. “I urge all NATO partners to face up to the behavior of a NATO member,” Macron said on Friday.

Russia has also accused, albeit implicitly, Ankara of sending “terrorists and mercenaries” to the conflict zone. It has demanded their “immediate withdrawal from the region.”

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reacted cautiously to Macron’s claims backed up by Western media reports. “I hope it’s not the case,” Pompeo told reporters on Friday.

“We saw Syrian fighters taken from the battlefields in Syria to Libya,” he said. “That created more instability, more turbulence, more conflict, more fighting, less peace. I think it would do the same thing in the conflict in and around Nagorno-Karabakh as well. So I hope that reporting proves inaccurate.”

Commenting on Turkish involvement in the Armenian-Azerbaijani dispute, Pompeo said Washington disapproves of “third parties bringing ammunitions, weapon systems, even just advisors and allies” to the conflict zone.


  • As fighting rages in Nagorno-Karabakh and casualties increase, civilians in Armenia have been rushing to help those on the front lines by donating their blood.

“Since our boys are protecting our homeland on the front lines, we are trying to help as much as we can in the rear,” teacher Marine Khachatryan told AFP as she gave blood in a clinic in the Armenian capital Yerevan.

“At the moment we are not needed on the front lines. There is a war and we are trying to provide as much as needed. We are always ready to support our army, our soldiers. We will win.”

On Friday, the official death toll among Armenian forces rose to 158, with 11 civilians killed and more than 60 wounded.

Rockets again struck Nagorno-Karabakh’s capital Stepanakert on Sunday morning in what was its worst shelling by Azerbaijani forces since the start of hostilities in the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict zone a week ago.

Alarm sirens across the city went off as the shelling began at around 7:30 a.m. local time and continued for at least three hours.

An RFE/RL correspondent at the scene heard about two dozen powerful explosions. They cut off electricity supply to some parts of Stepanakert. It was restored about 40 minutes later.

Most Stepanakert residents have stayed in bomb shelters since the outbreak of the war on September 27. One of them was killed and ten others wounded when the Karabakh capital was shelled on Friday.

Arayik Harutyunyan, the Karabakh president, accused Azerbaijan of deliberately targeting the Armenian-populated civilian population. In a Facebook post, Harutyunyan said that in response to that Karabakh’s Armenian-backed army has decided to strike “major military facilities located in Azerbaijan’s large cities.”

“I call on Azerbaijani civilians to quickly leave those cities to avoid possible losses,” he wrote.

A spokesman for Harutyunyan claimed afterwards that Karabakh forces have destroyed a military airfield in Gyanja, Azerbaijan’s second largest city located a few dozen kilometers from the Armenian-Azerbaijani “line of contact” around Karabakh.

He added on his Twitter page, “Our war is not against the people of #Azerbaijan. In fact, the people of Azerbaijan suffer from the irresponsible and reckless behavior of the Azerbaijani military-political leadership explicitly backed by #Turkey.”

The Karabakh Armenian army said, for its part, that it is “dealing powerful blows to very important military facilities located deep inside Azerbaijan.”


  • President of Armenia Armen Sarkissian addressed the Diaspora, noting that a powerful and strong Diaspora is a genuine army, who supports the Homeland and the courageous Armenian Army.

“The Homeland is grateful for the precious assistance you provide by your material assistance and your active participation to the “We are our borders: All for Artsakh” global fundraising campaign organized by the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund.

Today, each of you is Armenia’s and Artsakh’s ambassador abroad. With all possible means-rallies, demands, petitions and statements-you do everything to bring the truth and the voice of Artsakh to the international community and especially to your home governments about the inhuman essence of the war unleashed by Azerbaijan with the full support of Turkey.

I am convinced you fully realize that in this current situation we need even to multiply our efforts.”

(RFE/RL, France 24, Armenpress and Twitter contributed to this report.)


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