The Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense has released a statement saying that they enacted a heavy toll on Armenian forces in intense combat in the vicinity of Aghdara, Khojavand, and Qubadli.
Azerbaijani troops claimed to have eliminated many Armenian troops, two Su-25 ground attack aircraft, three T-72 tanks, an armored infantry vehicle, two Smerch, and one Grad Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 10 different types of artillery, a Gvozdika self-propelled howitzer, an OSA anti-aircraft missile system and a P-18 radar system.
“The front is under the Azerbaijani army’s control,” the statement added.
The below videos, circulated by the Azerbaijan Ministry of Defense website, show a convoy and several infantry positions being hit by airstrikes. Other videos posted in the last 24 hours show MLRS and artillery being hit as well.
An earlier statement had said that Armenian troops attacking in the Khojavend, Fuzuli, and Qubadli areas of the front were “resolutely prevented,” adding that Azerbaijani counter-attacks produced heavy casualties.
Azerbaijan accuses Armenian forces of using artillery against civilians in the Goranboy and Tartar regions of Azerbaijan. It also claimed that 21 people were killed when Armenian shells hit the town of Barda, northeast of Nagorno-Karabakh. At the same time, Armenian-backed officials said that Azerbaijani shells had fallen on the enclave’s two largest cities, killing one person. Both sides have denied each other’s claims.
However, the International Committee of the Red Cross said they have seen shelling in the civilian urban areas on both sides of the front line. It added that a volunteer from the Azerbaijan Red Crescent Society had been killed and two others injured in the shelling.
Combat operations continue to take a toll on Armenian forces, a month after violence began between the two countries over the region of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev posted the following tweet:
Victorious Armed Forces of Azerbaijan have liberated Khudaverdili, Gurbantepe, Shahveledli and Khubyarli villages of Jabrayil, Aladin and Vejneli villages of Zengilan, Kavdadig, Memer and Mollali villages of Gubadli. Long live Azerbaijan’s Armed Forces! Karabakh is Azerbaijan!
— Ilham Aliyev (@presidentaz) October 30, 2020
Aliyev announced that more than 130 villages and settlements, four cities, as well as strategic locations, have been liberated from Armenia’s occupation.
Azerbaijani forces are only five kilometers away from the strategic town of Shusha (Shushi to the Armenians), the second-largest city in the contested region. Gaining control of Shusha would be a major victory for Azerbaijan: Control of the city is pivotal for controlling the region and opens the approach to Stepanakert, Nagorno-Karabakh’s largest city. However, some military analysts believe that the smarter move by Azerbaijan would be to bypass Stepanakert and move on to Lachin, which is the main supply route for Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh.
The Armenian military receives massive support from Russia, with about 90 percent of its military hardware coming from there; yet much of it is old and outdated.
On the other hand, Azerbaijan has been significantly supported by Turkey. Azerbaijan’s recent influx of military equipment, paid for with its rich oil and gas reserves, has turned the tide and allowed it to recapture areas it had lost in the 1990s war. Azerbaijan has been particularly investing in modern drones which it has been using to devastating effect. Armenia is reeling and has called on volunteers to join the fight.
Relations between the two former Soviet republics exploded in 1991 when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh. The bloody fighting took over 30,000 lives and was a big victory for Armenia. About 15 percent of Azerbaijan’s territory. Azerbaijan also lost control over Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding regions.
Although it is internationally recognized that Nagorno-Karabakh is part of Azerbaijan, the majority of the people there are ethnic Armenians.