Nagorno-Karabakh: Azerbaijan Launches Anti-Terrorist Operation

Azerbaijan has declared the commencement of an “anti-terrorist” operation in Nagorno-Karabakh, a breakaway district that has been at the focal point of a long-standing conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia. This operation has raised fears of a reestablished battle in the region, as pressures have been consistently heightening throughout the last months.

Nagorno-Karabakh: Azerbaijan Launches Anti-Terrorist Operation

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The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is a protracted territorial dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan, rooted in the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Nagorno-Karabakh, an ethnically Armenian area, is universally perceived as a component of Azerbaijan. However, it has been under the true control of ethnic Armenian forces since a conflict in the mid 1990s.

The conflict has resulted in significant loss of life and displacement of populations, making it one of the most enduring conflicts in the post-Soviet space. The conflict raised further in 2020, when Azerbaijan launched a military offensive to regain control of the region.

This six-week war finished with a ceasefire brokered by Russia, which saw Azerbaijan reclaiming significant territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh. The ceasefire agreement also brought in Russian peacekeepers to monitor the situation and maintain stability in the region.

Tensions in Nagorno-Karabakh have been stewing since the 2020 ceasefire. Both Armenia and Azerbaijan have blamed each other of violating the ceasefire agreement, with sporadic clashes occurring along the line of contact.

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One huge improvement has been Azerbaijan’s compelling blockade of the Lachin Corridor, the only route connecting Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia. This blockade has severely impacted the flow of essential supplies to the region.

Recently, there were hopes that tensions might subside as humanitarian aid was allowed to enter Nagorno-Karabakh via two roads, including the Lachin Corridor.

However, these hopes were dashed when Azerbaijani authorities detailed the passings of six people, including four cops, in a landmine blast in the Khojavand region, which was recaptured by Azerbaijan during the 2020 war.

This incident further heightened hostilities, with both sides blaming each other for the escalation. On the nineteenth of September, Azerbaijan declared the beginning of an “aanti-terrorist” activity in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Baku’s defense ministry stated that this operation aimed to disarm and secure the withdrawal of Armenian armed forces from Azerbaijani territories.

Azerbaijan guaranteed that it was not focusing on civilians or civilian facilities but was instead focused on legitimate military targets using high-precision weapons.

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However, this announcement was met with a swift response from Armenia and ethnic Armenian authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Armenia accused Azerbaijan of launching a “full-scale aggression” against the Armenian population in the region and alleged that Azerbaijani forces were shelling towns and villages.

Reports from the locale showed that Stepanakert, the true capital of Nagorno-Karabakh, and different urban areas and towns were under weighty shelling.

Ethnic Armenian powers asserted that Azerbaijani soldiers were endeavoring to break their safeguards after escalated shelling.

The ceasefire that ended the six-week war in 2020 had already come under increased pressure in recent months. Russia had deployed 3,000 peacekeepers to monitor the ceasefire, but its attention had been diverted by its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan had expressed concerns about Russia “spontaneously leaving the region,” leaving a security vacuum in the South Caucasus.

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