Armenia’s Armed Forces have concluded the ninth day of fighting as Artsakh’s capital city of Stepanakert continues to get pulverized by Azerbaijan’s intense shelling.
Nineteen civilians, including women and children, have died and more than 80 people have been wounded according to Artsakh Ombudsman Artak Beglaryan, who has been at the helm of the social media campaign “Don’t be Blind”—an urgent call to the international community to recognize war crimes perpetrated by Azerbaijan’s government. During Monday’s briefing, Beglaryan said Azeri forces are intentionally striking civilian infrastructures in Stepanakert, damaging more than two-thousand buildings, including schools and energy sources. These targeted operations, Beglaryan reinforced, are “crimes against humanity.” “Azerbaijan is doing this with malicious intent in order to terrorize the populations,” he said, just before tweeting his endorsement for an investigation by Amnesty International’s Crisis Response experts, who condemned the prohibited use of Israeli-made M095 cluster munitions. The international human rights organization also insisted that the protection of human life must be a priority.
Cluster munitions as well as Smerch and LAR-160 multiple rocket launchers are part of a prohibited arsenal of weapons that are being deployed with criminal intent against Armenian civilians in places like Stepanakert and Hadrut, according to Arman Tatoyan, Armenia’s Human Rights Defender. “Calls and statements without calling out the perpetrator will no longer stop this from leading to a humanitarian catastrophe,” he said during an evening press briefing.
The National Assembly of the Republic of Artsakh in a statement issued Monday addressed the indiscriminate use of banned weaponry and the continued aggression of Azerbaijan and its partner Turkey, stressing the necessity of international recognition of the Republic as “the most effective way to put an end to the ongoing grave crimes against the peaceful population of Artsakh, and to protect their rights.” Continuing in the statement, the National Assembly emphasized the involvement of Turkey and its mercenary fighters, as well as its “de facto command and control of the military operations” in the intensifying and ongoing aggression against the Republic of Artsakh.
Also on Monday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Canada, at the urging of the Armenian National Committee of Canada, announced that it would suspend arms exports to Turkey amid emerging evidence that Canadian-developed sensor technology is being used by Turkish drones deployed in Artsakh. In a statement, The Honorable François-Philippe Champagne said he has suspended the relevant export permits to Turkey in order to investigate the issue “in line with Canada’s robust export control regime.”
Meanwhile, Canada’s Armenian counterpart has commented on the Armenian government’s evidence of a falsified photo released by the Azerbaijani leadership. The photo in question showed a missile that landed in the city of Mingachevir, but did not explode, refuting Azerbaijan’s allegations that the rocket was fired from Armenian territory. Armenian officials say Mingachevir is located 108 kilometers from the Armenian border, and that it is impossible to launch a rocket from that distance. Moreover, Armenian military experts say it is clear from the photograph that the missile did not hit the ground, but rather was carefully brought and placed in a hole. “The aim of this disinformation campaign is to cover up the massive shelling of the large settlements of Nagorno-Karabakh by Azerbaijan since the first day of the war,” declared the Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
— Shushan Stepanyan (@ShStepanyan) October 5, 2020
Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan’s son Ashot has signed up for Armenia’s Armed Forces as a volunteer following his father’s call for soldiers demobilized within the past year to re-enlist. The 20 year-old was demobilized in July after completing the two-year compulsory military service. “I have come to the conclusion that the most combat-ready segment of our society are the boys who were demobilized during the last year. I want to call upon all demobilized soldiers to present themselves to the central enlistment base starting immediately and enlist in the army to take part in this new Sardarabad,” said the Prime Minister during a Facebook Live address. “You are not being called to carry out combat duty. You are being called in a struggle of life and death for your homeland.”
Military officials added 21 additional soldiers to their list of martyred heroes today, increasing the total of military casualties to 220.