Armenian Village of Davit Bek Attacked, Artsakh Facing Environmental Catastrophe

Destruction in Davit Bek (Photo: Raffi Elliott, November 1, 2020)

Azeri forces fired on the village of Davit Bek in the Armenian province of Syunik for the second time in a week, killing one civilian and injuring two others.

Monday’s fatal attack represents the latest in a string of hostilities waged in Armenia’s southernmost province of Syunik. On October 10, drone strikes in the direction of the Artsvanik and Yeritsvank communities killed one civilian and wounded three others. On October 16, two Azerbaijani unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) were identified flying in the direction of the Khnatsakh, Artsvanik and Davit Bek settlements and shot down. Then, just three days ago on October 30, Davit Bek was subjected to artillery fire. 

Civilian settlements in Artsakh also came under fire throughout the night, as the Azerbaijani military continues to target civilian-populated towns and infrastructure. Missiles launched from MB-21 Grad and BM-30 Smerch multiple rocket launchers and military aviation were deployed towards Martuni and Martakert. As a result of shelling in the province of Martuni on November 1, one civilian, a 53 year-old named Armo Avanesyan from Khnushinak village, was reported dead today. According to their latest figures, Armenian officials say 45 civilians have died in Artsakh; two people have died in Armenia. Artsakh’s Deputy Defense Minister Artur Sargsyan was listed among the dead on Monday, bringing the number of military casualties to 1,177. 

The intensity of the battles along the Line of Contact (LoC) has heightened in the past few days, as positions shift and persistent attacks are continually repelled, reported Ministry of Defense representative Artsrun Hovhannisyan during his evening press briefing. The Artsakh Defense Army fought back offensives launched in the northern, northwestern, central and southern directions of the LoC throughout the evening and daytime. While the Armenian forces succeeded in securing several positional advances, the Azerbaijani Armed Forces captured one or two positions south of Martuni in the direction of the town of Chartar. “In general, the situation is under the control of the Armenian armed forces,” Hovhannisyan said. “All of the movements of the adversary are registered and targeted mainly by artillery fire.”

Officials in Artsakh are also facing an ecological disaster ignited by Azerbaijan’s illegal deployment of white phosphorus munitions on forested regions in the Republic. At least 1,815 hectares have burned so far, according to Artsakh Ombudsman Artak Beglaryan, who emphasized the deliberate acts of making the region uninhabitable as yet another example of Azerbaijan’s ongoing war crimes. In the village of Nngi in the Martuni region, 150 hectares of community-owned forests are burning for the third day in a row. 

The future of Artsakh’s youngest generation is also at risk. The widespread destruction of educational facilities in Artsakh as a result of targeted attacks has deprived the Republic’s children of the right to an education. According to the Office of the Artsakh Human Rights Ombudsman, 61 schools and 10 kindergartens have been severely damaged. 

“Such attacks must stop and those responsible for carrying them out, or ordering them, must be held to account,” warned UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet in a newly-released statement on Monday in which she referred to last month’s widely circulated and independently verified videos of the execution of two Armenians dressed in military uniforms in Hadrut as “compelling” and “deeply disturbing information.” Bachelet also mentioned a deadly October 28 attack on the Azerbaijani town of Barda, in which Armenian military officials have strongly refuted any involvement.

Meanwhile in France, AFP is reporting the country’s Interior Minister wants to ban the Turkish ultra-nationalist organization known as Grey Wolves. According to local news sources, the issue will be presented to the French cabinet on Wednesday after the vandalism of the Armenian Genocide memorial as well as the tagging of the building belonging to Consultate General of Armenia in Lyon. Late last month, videos surfaced of large, anti-Armenian demonstrations chanting threats on the streets of the French city.

Back in Yerevan, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan is commenting on the involvement of Syrian mercenaries following newly-released footage of interrogations over the weekend. PM Pashinyan asserted that this comprehensive evidence represents a threat to global security and demands an international investigation. “Azerbaijan, with a population of 10 million and huge oil revenues, admitted after July 2020 that it was unable to solve its security problems on its own and turned to thousands of mercenaries for help,” he wrote on Facebook

Leeza Arakelian

Leeza Arakelian

Assistant Editor
Leeza Arakelian is the assistant editor of the Armenian Weekly. She is a formally trained broadcast news writer and a graduate of UCLA and Emerson College. Leeza has written and produced for local and network television news including Boston 25 and Al Jazeera America.
Leeza Arakelian

@LeezaYeretzian

Assistant editor @armenianweekly, former @boston25 writer, AP @AmericaTonight (AJAM), @ecjrn 2012, @ucla 2010 (leeza@armenianweekly.com)
MISSION TO MARS: An educational & out-of-this-world opportunity for all of our future scientists out there. My 5-ye… https://t.co/86KCiNtedc - 6 days ago
Lillian Avedian

Lillian Avedian

Lillian Avedian is a staff writer for the Armenian Weekly. Her writing has also been published in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Hetq and the Daily Californian. She holds bachelor’s degrees in Peace and Conflict Studies and Armenian Language and Literature from the University of California, Berkeley. She is a human rights journalist and feminist poet. Her first poetry collection, Journey to Tatev, will be published with Girls on Key Press in spring of 2021.

4 Comments

  1. Notice how Russia sits by while the Republic of Armenia gets bombed, even though it has a military base in Armenia. This should come as a lesson to Russophile Armenians who think that Russia is secretly backing them and would take Armenia’s side if war broke out. Armenians should not allow duplicitous Russia to have a military base in Armenia. A few quotes from Putin taken from this Financial Times article:

    https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/amp.ft.com/content/357e2bbf-a8e9-49bb-808b-42bfb6301776

    “It should be said that our position is absolutely open with regard to the possibility of handing over these five plus two [surrounding] districts to Azerbaijan, alongside the provision of a specific regime for the Karabakh zone and the securing of a link with Armenia,” Mr Putin said on Thursday.

    “[We must] find a balance of interests that would suit both sides: the interests of both the Azerbaijani people, whom we treat with unwavering respect, and the Armenian people should be taken into account,” he added. “Each side has its own truth. There are no simple solutions.”

  2. Yes Greg, let kick them Russians out of Armenia so that Turks and Azeris can send their army into Armenia instead. Your Turkish/Western agenda is more than obvious. Try to be a little more nuanced if you want to fool people…

    • If you read the article you will realise that Azerbaijan backed up by Turkey has already attacked land in the Republic of Armenia.

      Under the joint CIS Air Defence System Russia has a duty to protect the air boundaries of the Republic of Armenia. A Turkish F-16 downed an Armenian SU-25 in September 2020. Russia failed in its responsibility to protect Armenian airspace. I think the Russians have managed to fool us into thinking they have our back. Read the article before you comment

  3. War is not a family dispute, nor is it a street fight. War is an integral part of a very complicated, multi-layered and dangerous political process that a very few people actually understand. Speaking of political processes, there are actual mechanisms in place to ask for military help from Russia.In other words, Armenia needs to officially invite Russian military intervention similar to what Bashar Assad did in 2015. It’s amazing even the adults here don’t seem to get it. Absolutely amazing. In any case, why don’t you people instead contact Nikol’s office and beg him to start the “Russians are coming to save us” process so that the Russians will come and save us again. Okay?

    But, before you all jump to pick up the phone to call Putin, ask yourselves: If we are unable to defend our lands every time the enemy comes knocking on the door without Russian intervention, then what really is the point of our statehood? If we can’t properly defend (not to mention develop) our nation, then let’s just join the Russian Federation and be done with it. Why prolong the agony? Am I not right?

    I don’t know if you people here are internet activists working for Western, Turkish or Israeli interests, or are just a bunch of politically ignorant individuals. Whatever the case may be, you people need to make up your minds. If we need Russians to fight for us, then we need to be “subservient” to Russia. There are no free lunches in politics. And if we don’t want to be subservient to Russia, then we need to stop asking for Russians to fight for us every time a Turk throws a stone across the border.

    So, please make up your minds…

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