Azeri Forces Continue Shelling Civilian Areas; Elderly Residents Brutally Killed

Note: One of the images in this article may be too graphic.

STEPANAKERT, NKR (A.W.)—Heavy fighting continued today along the Nagorno-Karabagh Repubilc (NKR/Artsakh) Line of Contact (LoC), with reports surfacing of Azerbaijani brutality against unarmed civilians. Despite an earlier statement today by the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense announcing an end to the armed hostilities, the assault against Armenian positions and civilian areas continued. Meanwhile, the NKR Defense Ministry stated that it was ready to discuss a ceasefire “in the context of a return to the prior positions.”

The Azerbaijani Army has been shelling Armenian civilian settlements, particularly the town of Martakert, using BM-21 Grad multiple launch rocket systems, as well as 152 MM artillery, according to the NKR Defense Ministry.

The NKR Defense Ministry has not released a statement on the number of casualties. Some civilians, however, have reportedly been transported to the Stepanakert hospital.

An elderly couple killed in Talish (photo: Hakob Poghosyan/Hetq)
An elderly couple killed in Talish (Photo: Hakob Poghosyan/Hetq) published the disturbing news of an elderly couple—Valera Khalapyan and his wife, Razmela—found shot in their homes with their ears cut off. Another resident, Marousya Khalapyan, born in 1924, was also killed.

Hetq photographer Hakob Poghosyan was documenting the aftermath of the April 2 Azerbaijani assault on the village of Talish, which was temporarily overrun with Azerbaijani soldiers, when he found the bodies of the elderly couple. The Khalapyans were among the few residents who were in Talish when the Azerbaijani soldiers entered the village.

The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry had announced earlier today that “In light of persistent calls from international organizations and given the fact that the government of Azerbaijan is pursuing a peaceful policy, the Azerbaijani armed forces took a unilateral decision to stop counter-attacks and retaliatory action against the enemy in the occupied territories of the Republic of Azerbaijan.” Stepanakert called the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry’s announcement of a unilateral ceasefire “a piece of misinformation.”

In another communique, the NKR Defense Ministry said that the situation “remains tense,” with “rather fierce battles underway along the northeast and southeast directions of the frontline.”

The video below by, RFE/RL’s Armenian service, shows footage of the attack on Martakert.

According to the NKR Defense Ministry, today’s fighting has led to a number of Azerbaijani casualties and military equipment losses, particularly near Talish. Enumerating Azerbaijani losses, the Defense Ministry held that “Overall, the Azerbaijani army lost 14 tanks and 5 other units of other armor yesterday and today, including an IFV [Infantry Fighting Vehicle]. The Nagorno-Karabagh Army lost one tank.”

The NKR Ministry of Defense tweets
Tweets by the NKR Ministry of Defense

Early in the day, the NKR Defense Army undertook counter measuresand was able to regain a “tactically important stronghold” near Talish, which had earlier been overtaken by the Azerbaijani Army. During that operation, two NKR soldiers were wounded, according to the Defense Ministry. Starting at 6 a.m., there was also fighting on the southern part of the frontline, where Azerbaijani forces continued to use artillery and rocket attacks against the Armenian side. The NKR Defense Ministry noted that its army had carried out “successful operations” on the southern frontline.

In its latest communique, the NKR Defense Ministry held that Baku is covering up the real number of its casualties. “According to official Baku, 21 is equal to 12. It is clear that in order to cover up its losses, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry is using a simple solution by changing the order of the numbers, presenting its losses from a single battle as 12 instead of 21,” read the statement, which referred to the fighting near the village of Seysulan. The NRK Defense Ministry linked to aerial footage of the area, marking what it said were the bodies of Azeri fighters.

Meanwhile, various news outlets have reported on the scores of volunteers from Karabagh and Armenia heading to enlist for service.

Volunteers gathered in Stepanakert
Volunteers gathered in Stepanakert

NKR Prime Minister Arayik Harutyunyan met with hundreds of volunteers in Stepanakert’s Cultural and Youth Center on the evening of April 2. “I am happy that in such a short time, this many people have signed up as volunteers in this sacred mission,” he said. “If it is necessary, we will all go to protect the borders of our homeland. At this phase, I urge you to avoid succumbing to panic, and to keep the military spirit of the public high,” Harutyunyan was quoted as saying on the NKR government’s official Facebook page.

Volunteers gather to hear NKR Prime Minister Arayik Harutyunyan
Volunteers gather to hear NKR Prime Minister Arayik Harutyunyan.


International Reaction

On April 2, the spokesperson for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a statement expressing “concern” over the use of heavy weapons and the large number of casualties reported, including civilians. “The Secretary-General urges all relevant parties to put an immediate end to the fighting, fully respect the ceasefire agreement, and take urgent steps to de-escalate the situation,” read the statement. “The Secretary-General reiterates his full support for the efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group and all parties working to resolve this dangerous situation and pursue a peaceful negotiated settlement of the Nagorno-Karabagh conflict.”

The European Union’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini also issued a statement expressing concern.

Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev at a Security Council meeting on April 2 (photo:
Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev at a Security Council meeting on April 2 (Photo:

Press Secretary of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) Vladimir Zaynetdinov said on April 2 that Azerbaijan’s actions were escalating the situation, and that there can be no military solution to the conflict. “Everything must be decided through negotiations. The Azerbaijani side’s actions in this case are leading to the escalation of the situation and the conflict,” he was quoted as saying by Russia’s Interfax news agency.

On April 2, Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs called on both sides to cease the fighting, in a statement made by ministry spokesperson Hossein Jaberi Ansari. “Whereas the region is witnessing destructive acts from extremist groups and needs tranquility and stability, hearing of escalation of clashes in the Karabagh region between Azerbaijan and Armenia is [a] source of deep concern for the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Ansari was quoted as saying. “We urge Azerbaijan and Armenia to cease clashes promptly and use all their might to restore tranquility and peaceful settlement of differences within the peace groups and under the United Nations.”

Among other heads of states, French President Francois Hollande also called on the sides to adhere to the ceasefire agreement, stressing that negotiations are the only means to achieving peace.

On April 2, First Deputy Minister of Defense of the Republic of Armenia Davit Tonoyan received the French, German, and Italian ambassadors to Armenia, as well as a European Union delegation to discuss the situation on the NKR Line of Contact.


Erdogan Phones Aliyev; PACE Calls for Withdrawal of Armenian Troops from ‘Occupied Territories’

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the Presidential Palace (Photo: Official Website of the Turkish President)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the Presidential Palace (Photo: Official Website of the Turkish President)

According to the official website of the Azerbaijani president, both Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu phoned Aliyev to express their support, as well as extend condolences for the Azerbaijani casualties. “The Turkish president expressed his support and solidarity over the events on the Line of Contact of the Armenian and Azerbaijani troops. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the Turkish people had always stood by the people of Azerbaijan, and extended condolences over the killing of Azerbaijani servicemen as a result of Armenian provocation,” read the press release.

Meanwhile, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) President Pedro Agramunt said, “I am extremely worried at the reports of violence in Nagorno-Karabagh and deeply saddened at the loss of life yesterday. I call on both sides to honor the ceasefire and swiftly resume negotiations towards a peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabagh conflict.” Agramunt also called for “the withdrawal of all Armenian armed troops from occupied Azerbaijani territories in compliance with the U.N. Security Council resolutions.”


Azerbaijan launched a full-blown attack on multiple positions of the Nagorno-Karabagh contact line overnight on April 1-2. The Azerbaijani Army employed tanks, military helicopters, drones, and various caliber weapons in an assault targeting the LoC on the southern, southeastern, and northeastern fronts. The NKR Defense Army retaliated, and, according to the NKR Defense Ministry Twitter page, brought down two helicopters and two drones, and destroyed three tanks. There were multiple casualties on both sides. Civilians were also targeted. According to reports, 12-year-old Vaghinag Grigoryan was killed in the Marduni region, and 2 other children were wounded, from a Grad BM-21 multiple rocket launcher attack.

During an emergency meeting of Armenia’s National Security Council held on the evening of April 2, Armenia’s President Serge Sarkisian announced that the Armenian side had suffered 18 casualties, with 35 people were injured. Azerbaijan’s losses—including to its air force, personnel, and armored vehicles—were “significant,” he added, according to PanArmenian. Azerbaijan reported 12 combatant casualties, and claimed to have killed 100 Armenian servicemen. The NKR Defense Ministry said on April 2 that the Azerbaijani side had sustained 200 losses.

Russian President Vladimir Putin called for an immediate ceasefire on April 2. Meanwhile, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reached out to his Armenian and Azerbaijani counterparts—Seyran Ohanyan and Zakir Hasanov—to quash the situation.

#StopAliyevArmenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Executive Director Aram Hamparian called for immediate Obama Administration action to stop Aliyev’s attacks against Nagorno-Karabagh—the worst since the ceasefire established in 1994.

The April 1-2 attack came after the conclusion of the 4th Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, D.C.; participants to the summit included Armenian President Serge Sarkisian and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.

On the sidelines of the Nuclear Summit, Aliyev met with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden. According to the Azerbaijani president’s official website, “[Biden] said the USA resolutely supported Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, adding that this was of great importance for the United States.”

The ANCA strongly criticized Biden’s meeting with Aliyev. “Vice President Biden, in personally meeting Azerbaijani President Aliyev in this manner—without any public challenge to his escalating regional aggression and worsening domestic repression—openly emboldened his belligerence while actively undermining American efforts to keep the peace and reach a negotiated settlement,” said Hamparian.

The ANCA has urged the public to take action by sending a webmail to President Obama, Congress, and the OSCE Karabagh negotiators urging them to take immediate action to stop Baku’s latest attacks. To take action, click here.

Read the Armenian Weekly’s April 2 report here.


    • I suppose it is in order to not appear as aggressors since we are not that. I also suppose it is a last resort. I would be interested in hearing other opinions on this.

      That being said, why destroy something we can eventually use. A few more mistakes from azeris and we should consider just taking over their whole country.

    • Because wealthy entities have invested lots in those oil pipelines. We have no beef with them & at this point why create more enemies. If all out war you destroy them. As far as taking over their country, that’s not realistic as that would take tremendous resources and basic destruction of their military itself. And that’s not our goal. I would take just holding our positions and inflicting as much destruction as we could with as little collateral damage to our military as possible.. That’s a victory.

  1. Armenians should remember from history that Friday prayers were used in the past as a prelude to attacks on Armenians. So it happens again.

    If as we say, we are all Armenians, stop the nonsense over who we are and lets begin treating every Armenian on this planet as equals in all aspects. Its the only way to stop Armenia from succumbing to obscurity.

  2. Armenia and Artsakh must lodge complaints to UN Security Council to score political points while at the same time must deal decisive blow to Azerbaijan so that the latter will think ten times before launching an attack in the future

    • Also to counter PR in the media. The Azeris have been pushing hard in that area and it shows when viewing the mainstream media.

  3. Our ‘friends’ in the USA are hard at work propagating the lie that “Azerbaijan is a beacon of multiculturalism and tolerance for all people and religions” and that “they have lived and practiced their religion in Azerbaijan for thousands of years”. I think the more correct figure should be six million years, I don’t know why they are downplaying the length of Azeri history so drastically.

    Meanwhile the savages are busy invading, murdering, and pillaging Armenians at every opportunity. Yup the above photo of the cowardly murder of elderly Armenians and also children is definite proof of how “tolerant” Azerbaijan is. Perhaps it is time for the “mainstream” media to teach the world how “Azerbaijan is the only democracy in the Caucasus”, similar to its Middle Eastern counterpart.

  4. This is the result of irresponsible declarations of Biden, “[Biden] said the USA resolutely supported Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, is this a green light to attack?.

    • Biden is speaking for his boss whose middle name is Hussein, who also happens to include Erdogan in the short list of his most favorite personalities. Reminds me of the line that goes like “Birds of a feather flock together…”.

    • The source of that quote is from an Azeri news source. Not to be trusted. They said also said something to the effect of Khazakstan supporting Azerbaijan, but Khazakstan refuted that.

      That said, the Obama administration has been weak or deliberately turning a blind eye to the threat from Azerbaijan.

    • Biden telling Aliyev that the U.S. resolutely supports Azerbaijan`s territorial integrity and sovereignty was quoted not only in Azeri news sources.

    • Vestnik Kavkaza, Regnum, Foreign Policy News, Russia Insider, among others…

      Why, you think it is unthinkable for a top-ranking US official to resolutely support Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity? If you really think so, familiarize yourself with this official State Department read-out

      “The two [Kerry and Ilham, that is] also discussed efforts to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Secretary Kerry affirmed U.S. support for Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity and underscored our concern about violence along the Line of Contact and the international border.”

  5. Typical for DAESH fighting is the cruel fact that the ears of the murdered elderly couple at Talish had been cut of. It reminds of the fighting methods of other Moslem warriers.
    Apart from the fact that it AGAIN were the Azeri forces that started the attacks, we are sure that from our side no similar cruelties are committed.

  6. So disappointed in Biden. What American politician can we trust anymore? Seriously do any of them have any backbone?

    May be the oil fields may be put out of service? OOPS we did not meant to BUT it hapend

  8. We can all express our frustration and grief online but the reality is we are not helping Armenians in the warzone. Many of us cannot join them for different reasons, but we can still help them in different ways. The funeral of the innocent child was held today and it made me cry when I saw the photo of the little angle. just posted the bank account details for anyone who wants to help. Below is one of them

    Account Number 22300612211100

    Like my husband said in the morning, we do not have unlimited means, but we are better off than a lot of people and there is not any reason why we cannot share what we have. I’m calling my bank to do a money transfer. You do not have to give a fortune, but please do share whatever you can. Please feel free to share my comment! Thank you!

  9. Is there any way we can make monetary contributions here in US? At the present time, I think what they might need from diaspora is money and that is the least we can give. War needs a lot of money and there are people who are displaced.

  10. The Azeri actions are getting worse and more daring every time as they get new weaopens and training from their “friends”, as if they are rehearsing for he “final push”. Let us not waste time and precious Armenian lives on the politics being played by the world powers telling us to stop hostilities as if we started them, instead of blaming Azeris for their criminal actions. It is time for all armenians to realise that world powers care very little about loses of lives in other countries as long as they can play their political games for self gain. It is time for all Armenians to unite in spirit and action and ensure Armenia and NKR have the latest weaopens to defend themselves and punish the Azeris so hard that they will not dare try any more military actions. All Armenians should help set up funds to buy the latest technology and worning systems, to buy the lates missiles and anti missile missiles. What is happening with our drones? Why don’t we buy the rockets from our real friend the Iranians? Why don’t we make our own missiles etc? Surely there is plenty of know how among our compatriots from the West or Russia.

  11. {…with their ears cut off.}

    There is another graphic pic and vid on a Yezidi web site.
    Ethnic Yezidi soldier Karam Sloyan, who was KIA during this latest invasion by Turks, had his dead body desecrated in the usual Turkic SOP: his head was severed by the nomad savages and the head paraded around by the barbarians.

  12. >>Meanwhile, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) President Pedro Agramunt said, “I am extremely worried at the reports of violence in Nagorno-Karabagh and deeply saddened at the loss of life yesterday. I call on both sides to honor the ceasefire and swiftly resume negotiations towards a peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabagh conflict.” Agramunt also called for “the withdrawal of all Armenian armed troops from occupied Azerbaijani territories in compliance with the U.N. Security Council resolutions.”<<

    I posted a comment on the comments of Agramunt but my comment, very critical of Europe and Europeans' stance on Artsakh's struggle for survival, was censored. Are we, according to ArmenianWeekly, supposed to bow down and kiss Europe's ass – like our I-refuse-to-recognize-Karabakh president Serj Sarkisyan mafia boss did in Berlin yesterday when he thanked Merkel 10 times for I don't know what.

    • I also was puzzled over Sargsyan thanking digin Margo so many times. Germany never said she supports Artsakh people’s self-determination. Instead, German authorities more than once emphasized the territorial integrity of states and were critical of Russia maintaining bases or advancing her interests in the former Soviet areas vital for Russia’s national security, including Armenia. And, I hope, the president hasn’t forgotten that it was Germany that instigated the murderous Turks against the Armenians in 1915. However, the 2005 German Bundestag resolution commemorates the expulsion and massacre—and not the genocide—of the Armenians in 1915.

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