Fierce clashes between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces continue in the contested Nagorno-Karabakh region, where Azerbaijan seeks to dismantle the Armenian Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (a unrecognized independent state affiliated with Armenia).
The Azerbaijani military gained the air dominance and exploiting the numerical superiority and advantage in heavy weapons continue developing their offensive. As of October 6, the Azerbaijani military captured three more villages from Armenian forces in the Jabrayil district in the southern part of the contested region.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev personally announced that “Azerbaijan’s Army liberated the villages of Shikhali Agali, Sarijali, and Mezre in the Jabrayil district and several strategic heights in various directions. Successful operation of our glorious Army is ongoing. Karabakh is Azerbaijan!”
Earlier, the Azerbaijani leadership claimed that Amrenian forces lost the settlements of Karkhulu, Shukurbeyli, Cherekan, Dashkasan, Horovlu, Mahmudlu, Jafarabad, Yuxari Maralyan and Dejal, also in the Jabrayil district.
The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry also provided some fresh details regarding the alleged losses of the Armenian side.
“During the battles in various directions of the front, 2 MLRS BM-21 Grad of the Armenian army were destroyed. The multiple launch rocket systems BM-21 Grad, standing at the firing positions of the 41st Artillery Regiment, were destroyed by a strike of the Azerbaijani army. Moreover, D-20 howitzers and their combat crews, standing at the firing position of the 42nd Artillery Regiment, were destroyed by precise fire from our units, “the defense ministry said on October 6 morning.
Armenian positions, weapons and equipment captured by Azerbaijani forces:
Azerbaijani and Turkish diplomats continue insisting that Armenia has been conducting strikes on civilian targets inside Azerbaijan. One of the key propaganda narratives of the Turkish-Azerbaijani bloc is that the Azerbaijani push to capture Karabakh is needed to ‘protect civilians’. The expected ethnic cleansing of Armenians in the event of the Azerbaijani military victory is being presented by them as ‘Armenian propaganda’.
On October 6, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu once again claimed that alleged Armenian attacks on civilian settlements are crime against humanity, showing their desperation. The foreign minister also criticized OSCE Minsk Group saying that Azerbaijan is a ‘victim’ and can’t be grouped in with occupying Armenian forces. The Turkish side also emphasized that Ankara is ready to provide Baku any support that it needs.
Actions of Turkey and Azrebaijan in the public diplomatic sphere demonstrate that they are already almost sure in their military victory and have been working to set a diplomatic ground to secure the gains.
On October 5, the United States, Russia and France released a joint statement calling for the ceasefire in the Nagorno-Karabakh region:
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of France Jean-Yves Le Drian, and Secretary of State of the United States of America Michael R. Pompeo, representing the Co-Chair countries of the OSCE Minsk Group, condemn in the strongest terms the unprecedented and dangerous escalation of violence in and outside of the Nagorno-Karabakh zone.
The Ministers stress unconditionally that recent attacks allegedly targeting civilian centers – both along the Line of Contact and on the territories of Azerbaijan and Armenia outside the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone – and the disproportionate nature of such attacks constitute an unacceptable threat to the stability of the region.
Recalling the October 1 statement of the Heads of State of the three Co-Chair countries of the OSCE Minsk Group, the Ministers call once again upon the conflicting parties to accept an immediate and unconditional ceasefire. The Co-Chairing countries are determined to exercise fully their mandate, entrusted to them by the OSCE and the international community, with the contribution of the Minsk Group capitals. As such, they will firmly continue to advance their engagement with the sides, and urge them to commit now to resuming the settlement process on the basis of existing core principles and relevant international documents well-known by both parties.
This statement was in fact rejected by Azerbaijan and Turkey.
Meanwhile, the official Armenian propaganda is trying to paint a different picture of the situation. On October 6 morning, the Armenian Unified Infocenter of the Armenian Defense Ministry released a statement saying that Azerbaijani forces continue suffering large-scale losses in the conflict.
In the period from September 27 to October 6, Azerbaijani forces allegedly lost 3,454 soldiers, 379 battle tanks, 4 rocket launchers, 17 military planes, 16 helicopters and 126 unmanned aerial vehicles.
— Armenian Unified Infocenter (@ArmenianUnified) October 6, 2020
In own turn, the Defense Ministry of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic claimed that Armenian forces have achieved some ‘position gains’ in the battle against Azerbaijan.
An example of the military propaganda of the Armenian Defense Ministry (Google translation from Armenian):
Heroic episodes of tank battles
On October 2, during the enemy’s attack on the defense zone of the AO, the battery commander, Captain Gegham Martikovich Martirosyan, correctly assessing the situation and the direction of the attack, hit seven enemy tanks with an error-free shot, forcing them to retreat in panic.
On October 2, during an enemy attack on the AO defense zone, the squadron commander, junior sergeant Sahak Vrezhovich Mkhitaryan shot down two tanks, and junior sergeant of the same squadron Ashot Yesayan shot down two tanks and two wheeled vehicles. The precise shots of the military personnel caused panic among the enemy and forced him to abandon the advance.
On October 2, in the defense zone of the AO during the enemy attack, Major Ayaser Kamoevich Dallakyan shot down two advanced tanks that stormed a tank column and, catching the enemy by surprise, prevented the advance of the tank unit
Nonetheless, the lack of video evidence indicates that the situation is in fact much worse than the Armenian military wants to admit. Photos and videos recently released by Armenian sources in social media were mostly focused on Azerbaijani strikes on civilian targets, including the city of Stepanakert.
Journalists operating on the Armenain side of the frontline are now mostly in the area of Stepanakert. RUPTLY shows the destruction in the city of Stepanakert:
Armenian official media and ‘activists’ are now raging and crying demanding Russia to intervene in the Nagorno-Karabakh standoff on the side of Armenian forces. Among the main narratives is the claim that Russia should do this because Armenian is a part of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) defense pact. The issue is that the CSTO pact could be activated only if Armenian sovereign territory comes under attack. The Nagorno-Karabakh region is not a part of Armenia even according to the official Armenian law itself. Erevan has made zero steps to initiate the recognition of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic as an independent state or a part of Armenia. Instead, the modern Armenian government has been consistently undermining its defense and political ties with Russia.
On the other hand, Director of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service Sergey Naryshkin warned on October 6 that members of Middle Eastern terrorist groups, including Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (Jabhat al-Nusra, formerly the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) are being deployed to the Karabakh conflict zone.
“According to the information available for the SVR (Foreign Intelligence Service), mercenaries from the international terrorist organizations fighting in the Middle East, in particular, Jabhat al-Nusra, Firkat Hamza, Sultan Murad, as well as extremist Kurdish groups, are actively moving into the conflict zone. Hundreds and even thousands of radicals hope to make money on the new Karabakh war, “Naryshkin said.
“We have no doubt that, with the assistance of the international community, the parties to the conflict will eventually stop using force and sit down at the negotiating table.”
At the same time, Sergey Naryshkin noted:
“However, we cannot but be concerned that the Transcaucasia could become a new springboard for international terrorist organizations, from where militants can subsequently infiltrate into states adjacent to Azerbaijan and Armenia, including Russia.”
Contrary to the Armenian propaganda, the presence of radical militant groups in Karabakh is the factor that will not be ignored by Russia. If the situation continues developing in this direction, Russia will likely consider employing more active measures to prevent attempts to turn Karabakh into the new terrorist hotbed.
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