Armenia’s attack on Azerbaijani civilians

As Americans set off fireworks throughout the land on Independence Day, the Armenian military occupying the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan were using explosives of their own, ordinance not directed at an opposing military force but at innocent civilians.

In an open letter, Norica Nicolai, the European Parliament rapporteur for Azerbaijan, and Ryszard Czarnecki, vice president of the European Parliament, stated, “The indiscriminate killing of civilians, women and children is unacceptable in any circumstances and must be stopped immediately! It has emerged that this killing was the result of a mortar and grenade attack committed by Armenian armed personnel against Azerbaijani unarmed civilians in the village of Alkanli, in the Fuzuli province.”

A near-daily incidence, the Armenian military alternately shells, mortars, snipes at civilians along the “line of contact,” the line of demarcation that separates Azerbaijan proper from its occupied territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. Often used as a harassment and instigation tactic, seemingly geared to draw Azerbaijan into a larger-scale conflagration, the Fourth of July incident is indicative of new Armenian military doctrine — avoidance of the Azerbaijani military in favor of engaging civilian targets — challenging Azerbaijan to respond as an aggressor.

This doctrine appears to have come into practice following the April 2016 Five-Day War, begun as a heavy artillery bombardment initiated by the Armenian military that resulted in the heaviest fighting in more than 20 years. During the fighting, the Azerbaijani military fielded state-of-the-art weapons, command-and-control systems, and a military force demonstrably better trained, and more proficient and professional than the Armenian military faced previously. Azerbaijan, compelled to retaliate, routed the Armenian forces and the liberated strategic highlands and a significant swath of territory.

In this incident, roughly three miles inside Azerbaijani territory, the Armenian military explicitly chose to avoid targeting Azerbaijani gun emplacements, tanks and troops. Instead, Azerbaijan’s Alkhanli village was targeted with 82- and 120-millimeter mortars and heavy grenade launchers. During the bombardment, 2-year-old Zahra Guliyeva lost her life, one of the many children killed in recent and nearly exact military on civilian engagements.

Also, killed in the attack was Zahra’s grandmother, 50-year-old Sahiba Guliyeva, while numerous other villagers were hospitalized for serious shrapnel and other wounds.

Autor: Alexander Murinson


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