south front for sunday nov 22

Military Situation In Nagorno-Karabakh
South Front, Nov 22 2020

A brief overview of the recent developments in the Nagorno-Karabkh conflict zone:

  • On Nov 22, Azerbaijan announced that over 120 foreign diplomats visited Fuzuli District of Nagorno-Karabkah. The visit was organized by Azerbaijani authorities
  • On Nov 22, the Turkish Defense Ministry announced that Turkish troops deployed in Azerbaijan will participate in the joint ceasefire monitoring center with the Russians for a one year period’;
  • On Nov 22, Russian peacekeepers continued their work to improve humanitarian conditions in the conflict zone. Also, Russia deployed civil defense and disaster response specialists that would participate in this effort;
  • On Nov 22, Armenian sources reported that up to 350 bodies of Armenian soldiers have been recovered or exchanged since the start of the ceasefire;
  • On Nov 21, a high-ranking Russian delegation, including the foreign and defense ministers, visited Armenia and Azerbaijan to holding talks with their leadership;
  • On Nov 21, the Russian Defense Minister announced that over 7k people have returned to Nagorno-Karabakh since the start of the Nov 10 ceasefire.

Azerbaijani Troops Enter First Of Districts That Are Set To Be Returned Under Karabakh Deal
South Front, Nov 22 2020

Late on November 19, Azerbaijani troops started entering the district of Agdam in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Agdam is one of the districts surrounding the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast of the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic that Azerbaijan lost to Armenian forces after the collapse of the USSR, as a result of the First Karabkah War. On November 20, the district is set to be fully transfered to Azerbaijan under the peace deal reached by Baku and Yerevan to put an end to the Second Karabkah War earlier in November. An overwhelming majority of Armenians living in Agdam have already left the area. Over the past days, authorities of the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (also known as the Republic of Artsakh) were assisting in the evacuation. Many of the leaving Armenians were burning their homes in order to not allow the Azerbaijanis to seize them and use them in the future. The next district which is set to be transferred to Azerbaijani control, is Kalbajar. Originally, it had to be handed to Baku forces on November 15, but this development was rescheduled for Nov 25. The Armenians currently fleeing Kalbajar are burning their homes and properties that they cannot evacuate. If the control over Agdam and Kalbajar is transferred to Azerbaijan without major incidents, Lachin will become the next district that will face this fate. Nonetheless, the Lachin corridor linking Armenia with Stepanakert and other Karabakh territories that will remain in the hands of the Armenians will be secured by the Russian peacekeeping force. Currently, the Russian military has 23 checkpoints in the conflict zone. The Lachin-Stepanakert road was reopened and over 1235 displaced civilians have returned to Stepanakert.

Contrary to the situation within districts that would be transferred to the Azerbaijani forces, Armenians do not flee the areas that will remain in the zone of responsibility of the Russians. Instead, many people that fled the conflict have opted to return their homes. Nonetheless, the local humanitarian crisis can hardly be avoided. According to the 2015 census, the population of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic was about 151,000. The conflict reportedly displaced about a half of them, somewhere between 75,000-80,000. Even more people are now fleeing districts that are set to be transferred to Azerbaijan under the fear of violence, ethnic cleansing and other kinds of threats from the Azerbaijani forces and authorities. A part of the displaced people is now returning to Stepanakert and other nearby areas under Russian protection. However, even in the best case, the Armenian state will still have to deal with tens of thousands of displaced people in its territory. Yerevan already announced some financial help and economic support to these people, but the situation in Karabkah itself also requires attention. So far, the only side conducting humanitarian actions there has been Russia that created a special humanitarian center for this purpose. The coming weeks will demonstrate the ability of the sides to compel each other to the reached ceasefire accords and, in the event of their implementation, a sufficient level of peace and security will finally be achieved in the region.

Train With Captured Armenian Military Equipment Was Spotted In Azerbaijan
South Front, Nov 22 2020

A large column of captured Armenian military equipment was filmed in Azerbaijan, near the country’s capital of Baku. It looks like Azerbaijan is going to set up an exhibition with the captured equipment.

High-Ranking Russian Delegation Came To Baku And Yerevan. Turkey To Send Forces To Azerbaijan
South Front, Nov 21 2020

On Nov 21, a high-ranking Russian delegation visited the Armenian capital, Yerevan, to discuss the recent peace deal with Azerbaijan. The Russian-brokered peace deal, which was announced on Nov 9, put an end to a fierce battle between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The Russian delegation, which Sergei Lavrov and Sergei Shoygu, met in Yerevan with Pashinyan. The two sides discussed the implementation of the peace deal. During the meeting, PM Pashinyan noted that Armenia ”has always felt the support of Russia” during the war, including the personal “support” of Russian President Vladimir Putin as well as the Russian government. Defense Minister Shoygu briefed PM Pashinyan during the meeting on the deployment of Russian peacekeepers, who are tasked with monitoring the peace deal in Nagorno-Karabakh. Shoygu told Pashinyan:

A total of 23 posts have been deployed. We’re monitoring the road to Stepanakert. We will be working to facilitate the return of refugees as well as to prevent bloodshed in the region. Until today, about 7,000 citizens have returned, and this work continues, and I am confident that everyone who wishes to return to Karabakh will be able to do so.

After meeting in Yerevan the high-ranking Russian delegation traveled to Baku for a meeting with Aliyev & top officials. During the meeting, the Azerbaijani President complained to the Russian delegation of what he called the extensive use of foreign mercenaries by Armenia. He told the Russian delegation:

We have numerous photo and video documents. We have passports of foreign citizens, in particular, citizens of France, the USA, Lebanon, Canada, Georgia and other countries. Some of these people are of Armenian origin, some are not. This, however, does not change the essence of the issue because the participation of foreign mercenaries on the part of Armenia, of course, is unacceptable.

Many ethnic Armenians of different nationalists went to Nagorno-Karabakh to fight Azerbaijani forces in the early days of the battle. However, Azerbaijan, with the help of Turkey, recruited at least 2,000 Syrian mercenaries in its ranks. Turkey, which supported Azerbaijan’s attack on Nagorno-Karabakh, is now making preparations to send its own troops to the region. Defense Minister Hulusi Akar announced on November 21 that Turkish troops are ready to be deployed in Nagorno-Karabakh as soon as possible. The Turkish minister claimed that all the work needed to deploy troops in the region has been completed. Akar said in the capital Ankara:

Our preparations are completed. As a requirement of this resolution, Turkish soldiers will start their duty in Azerbaijan as soon as possible.

Russia is planning to deploy 1,960 peacekeepers in Nagorno-Karabakh. Turkish troops will likely be technicians, who will be deployed in a joint observation center located in Azerbaijan.

Armenian Government ‘Accidentally’ Forgot To Put Russian Flag During Meetings With Russian Delegation
South Front, Nov 21 2020

The government of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan continues its brilliant diplomatic skills in undermining the Armenian regional position and destroying the already weakened partnership with Russia. On Nov 21, the Russian delegation, including Sergei Lavrov and Sergei Shoigu, held a series of meetings with the top Armenian leadership regarding the current situation in the region and the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Accepting the high-ranking Russian delegation, the Armenian side ‘accidentally’ forgot to put the Russian flag. This could be clearly seen on the pictures. Such a position of Armenia towards its only reall ally in the region that has just rescued Armenain forces from the total annihilation in the war with Azerbaijan for Nagorno-Karabakh is at least surprising. In the worst case scenario for Armenia, it just demonsrates that the government led by the Western puppet continues its anti-Armenian policy could easily lead to the full destruction of the country’s statehood. It is interesting to note that the Armenian Foreign Ministry claimed that the absence of Russian flags is completely fine and this is an ordinary practice for Yerevan. However, the fact that the Russian flag appeared on photos after media drew attention to the incident demonstrates that the original situation was not so okay because it revealed the real aim of the current Armenian government.

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