Artsakh Defense Ministry Reports Several Azerbaijani Casualties, No Armenian Servicemen Killed
STEPANAKERT, Artsakh (A.W.)—Azerbaijani forces made two major offensive attempts early on Feb. 25, in what is being described as the most intense fighting along the Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabagh)-Azerbaijani border since early April 2016. A statement released by the Artsakh Defense Army said that the two attempts were carried out at around 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. in the southeastern (Martakert) and eastern (Akna) directions of the Artsakh-Azerbaijan Line of Contact (LoC).
According to the Defense Ministry statement, Artsakh forces detected the advancements early on and drove Azerbaijani forces back to their starting positions. The Ministry also announced that as a result, the Azerbaijani side suffered several casualties and that the bodies of several Azerbaijani servicemen are in the neutral zone between the two countries
The Artsakh Defense Ministry also announced that according to data gathered by the Artsakh Defense Army, the casualties of the Azerbaijani side include the head of the 181st intelligence brigade of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces, Major Abdulayev, commander of the brigade’s intelligence company, Senior Lieutenant Ashimli Shakhlar, intelligence officer Adihusseinov, and two other servicemen.
Despite Azerbaijani reports of the Armenian side being the aggressor and suffering multiple casualties, the Artsakh Defense Ministry announced that it had, in fact, not suffered any losses as a result of the Azerbaijani aggression.
“Several [Azerbaijani] corpses are lying in the neutral zone,” said the statement. “No [servicemen] were killed or wounded on the Armenian side… How can the defending side leave casualties in the neutral zone?” asked a part of the statement.
The press service of the Artsakh Defense Ministry also released two videos, which prove that Azerbaijan launched the attacks.
The first video released by the Ministry (below) shows the demining of the TROPA-type equipment used by Azerbaijani forces (1), the explosion of the grenade launchers and other large-scale weapons used by Azerbaijan in direction of Akna (2), as well as the retreat of Azerbaijani units (3).
The second video (below) shows the neutralization of Azerbaijan’s infiltration attempt at Martuni (1) and proof of at least five casualties on the Azerbaijani side (2).
Speaking to Yerevan-based Armenpress, David Babayan the spokesperson for Artsakh President Bako Sahakyan, said that the infiltration attempts by Azerbaijan should not shock anyone. “[The attempts are] not an unexpected and strange phenomenon. This is what we expect every day. We deal with a terrorist country,” Babayan said.
A day earlier, on the morning of Feb. 24, Azerbaijani Armed Forces violated the ceasefire in the northern direction of Artsakh LoC using different caliber weapons. Over 50 shells were fired, including 36 shots from D-44 divisional guns and 14 from artillery type weapons, the Artsakh Defense Ministry reported. According to the Ministry, Azerbaijani forces directly targeted the village of Talish in addition to Armenian military positions. The village of Talish was the site of mass Azerbaijani aggression during the Four-Day War in April 2016.
Azerbaijan’s Feb. 25 attack on Artsakh is being described as the biggest offensive Azerbaijani forces have launched on Armenian positions since it carried out a full-blown attack on multiple positions of the Artsakh LoC overnight on April 1-2, 2016. The Azerbaijani Army employed tanks, military helicopters, drones, and various caliber weapons in an assault that targeted the LoC on the southern, southeastern, and northeastern fronts. That night, the Artsakh Defense Army retaliated and brought down two helicopters and two drones, and destroyed three tanks.
The large-scale attack led to the Four-Day War, which resulted in multiple casualties on both sides.