Towns in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh area including its capital Stepanakert have been shelled by Azerbaijani forces as serious fighting continues between Azerbaijan and Armenian forces.
BBC Russian journalist Grigor Atenesian posted a map showing the locations of conflict zones from 27 September to 3 October on Twitter.
Karabakh theater of war, amended with major shelling incidents. Situation developing rapidly, to be updated soon. Only includes data confirmed by both sides and independent reporters on the ground, as well as our sources. pic.twitter.com/r8xj9XvGTF
— Grigor Atanesian (@atanessi) October 3, 2020
Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev also posted a Tweet claiming that Azerbaijani forces had taken the town of Jabrayil, on the border of Nagorno-Karabakh, but significantly inside the area which Armenia had been occupying around the disputed area.
Today Azerbaijan’s Army has liberated from occupation the city of Jabrayil and several surrounding villages. Long live Azerbaijan’s Army! Karabakh is Azerbaijan!
— Ilham Aliyev (@presidentaz) October 4, 2020
Professor Michael Tanchum of the Austrian think tank AIES also shared a map showing the conflict areas, and suggested that Azerbaijan now controls significant lowland areas of Nagorno-Karabakh, and that its goal is to cut Armenia’s supply route between Stepanakert and Goris in Armenia.
🇦🇿 Controlling the outer lowland periphery and de-grading the main highway across high ground.
💥Connect the dots of the Stepankert (Khankendi)-Goris highway👇
Route: Khankendi – Shusha (add 💥) – Berdzor ( site of unnamed 💥) then over the Armenian border to Goris https://t.co/EYcge3Lvst
— Prof. Michael Tanchum (@michaeltanchum) October 4, 2020
Professor of international relations, Behlül Özkan, underlying the importance of the Azeri gains, said that this is the first time in 30-year Azerbaijan is taking back an important city.
Meanwhile, the BBC reported that Azerbaijan’s second-largest city, Ganja, had been shelled by Armenian forces. Armenian forces of the Nagorno-Karabakh region claimed to have hit Ganja’s military airport, but Azerbaijan said no military sites had been hit.
Ganja is well outside Nagorno-Karabakh and in an area where a number of key oil pipelines transport Azerbaijan’s natural gas reserves out of the country.
The death toll currently stands at around 220 people, but the real number of military casualties could be far higher than this, and it is hard to estimate losses while fighting continues so fiercely.
The BBC reported from Stepanakert, documenting the nighttime artillery assault by Azeri forces which damaged a residential complex close to where its reporters were staying. There was said to be one civilian casualty.
— Jonah Fisher (@JonahFisherBBC) October 3, 2020
Another video shared on Twitter showed a street said to be in Stepanakert which was hit by Azerbaijani ‘cluster ammunition’, which destroyed cars. Cluster munitions have been banned by over 100 nations who are signatories or parties to the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions. Neither Azerbaijan, Armenia, Turkey or other regional powers like Russia have signed the treaty. However, it could not be independently verified that Azerbaijan had used cluster munitions.
In another concerning development, archaeologist Hamlet Petrosyan said that Tigranakert, a major Hellenistic and Armenian archaeological site in Nagorno-Karabakh had been shelled by Azerbaijani artillery.
Meanwhile in the United States, Armenian Americans in California blocked a highway in Los Angeles to protest Azerbaijan’s military assault on Nagorno-Karabakh.
Pro-Armenian supporters have shut down a major highway in Los Angeles to protest “Azerbaijani aggression” against Karabakh – “assisted by Turkey & Israel” pic.twitter.com/xr24J8TWPa
— Murad Gazdiev (@MuradGazdiev) October 4, 2020