The Azerbaijani Armed Forces captured 6 villages in the areas of Fizuli and Jabrail in the contested Nagorno Karabakh region, near the border with Iran, according to a statement by the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry. The Azerbaijani side also claimed that its forces captured several strategic heights there.
According to pro-Azerbaijani sources, the number of “liberated” villages is 7. Armenian sources as always deny any advances by Azerbaijan claiming that they have been successfully repelling attacks of the ‘enemy’.
If reports about the capture of Garakhanbeyli, Garvand, Kend Gyaryadiz villages in Fizuli area and Boyuk Marchanli and Ruzgar villages in Jabrayil area are confirmed, Azerbaijani forces made an important step in their wider goal to secure roads to Fizuli and Mindjevan.
The Azerbaijani side released a video showing strikes on positions and equipment of Armenian forces (the footage reportedly shows drone strikes):
Meanwhile, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar held a telephone conversation with Azerbaijani Defense Minister Zakir Garalov. According to him, Turkey is ready to support efforts to ensure the territorial integrity of brotherly Azerbaijan to the last, Akar said during the conversation.
Turkey and Azerbaijan are long-time strategic partners and have strong ties in the military and security sector. Turkey regularly supports Azerbaijan on the international arena, including the conflict with Armenia. Just recently, the sides conducted joint military drills inside Azerbaijan, and according to pro-Armenian sources, at least a part of the Turkish equipment remained there. There are also reports about the deployment of Turkish proxy groups from Syria to Azerbaijan.
On the other hand, Armenia recently participated in the large-scale multi-national drills in Russia – Kavkaz 2020 (they ended on September 26). Therefore, the Russian military group permanently deployed in the Caucasus region is ready and mobilized. Thus, the development of the conflict in the Nagorno-Karabakh region will mainly depend on the position of supporters of Armenia and Azerbaijan. Despite the pro-US attitude of the current political regime in Armenia, Russia still remains a close partner of the country and the main guarantor of its sovereignty. Therefore, if Moscow steps in and employ its influence, the threat of a full military defeat from the Azerbaijani-Turkish bloc that is currently pretty large will be removed. So, the situation will have all chances to de-escalate. On the other hand, the readiness of Turkey and Azerbaijan to develop the advance on the ground will depend on the scale of support to Armenia demonstrated by Russia.
Nor Russia nor Turkey are interested in an open confrontation. Therefore, they will likely work to find a political solution to the current escalation and restore the ceasefire regime. In turn, the United States, the new best friend of the Armenian regime, is the main side interested in the destabilization of the region and the provocation of Turkish-Russian tensions.
In June 2018, SouthFront released a detailed anlaysis of the shifting balance of power in the South Caucasus and prospects of the possible Armenian-Azerbaijani war:
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