CHAPTER 25 THE KARABAKH-AZERBAIJAN CONFRONTATION AND THE PROPAGANDA OF UNIFICATION OF THE “TWO AZERBEIJANS”

The Karabakhforces had another problem to cope with. It was the lack of fuel. It was brought through the Lachin corridor from Armenia. Armenia bought it mostly from Russia. There was also a lack of food and other supplies. It was no less difficult to keep the Lachin corridor. It was being constantly attacked from two sides. But the difficulties made the Karabakharmy more mobile and active and more precise in their operations.

The defeat near the village Chldran became fateful for the Azerbaijanis.

This was the first Armenian victory in the course of the last military operations. Suffering severe casualties, the Azerbaijanis left the occupied villages. The Armenians became expert in pulling down the Azerbaijani planes, helicopters and bursting the tanks. The Azerbaijani army was retreating in all directions. Azerbaijan was already deprived of the chance of shelling Stepanakert. For a time the village Giularpi replaced Shushi, but the Armenian forces abolished this strategical point in a very short time. In early March Armenian forces began intense shelling of towns located along the eastern border, separating Nagorny Karabakhfrom th rest of Azerbaijan. Those towns included Aghdam and Fizuli, which were staging grounds for Azerbaijani operations.

The Armenian authorities told the Helsinki Watch that Stepanakert had been under constant attack by Azerbaijani forces since October 1991. They stated that among the weapons deployed by the Azerbaijanis were Alazani anti-hail misiles, shells from cannons and tanks, and RPGs. The shelling of the city had intersified in January 1992 with the introduction of “Grad” missiles, which being jet-popelled, could be launched forty at a time and cause greater damage than Alazanis. The city was periodically shelled during the Helsinki Watch delegations visit in April 1992.

It was very important to put on record all the events taking place in the region, as international public opinion is shaped by media coverage and Azerbaijan certainly won great sympathy through its presentation of the “Khojali massacre”. Conversely, the Armenians received much criticism and lost a great deal of support as a result of their alleged behaviour in Khojali. The international media did not cover the massacre of the Armenians at Maragha at all. Consequently, in the eyes of the world the armed forces of the Armenians of Nagorny Karabakhhave been made to appear more brutal than those of Azerbaijan. In reality, evidence suggests that the opposite was true.5

The military offensive continued unabated until the end of 1992 and into 1993. The Su-24 and 25 fighter bankers, joined by MIG-s continued to attack Stepanakert and the villages from Vank in the north to Martuni in the south. Continuing ground offensives along the borders deployed, tanks, artillery, “Grad” and new longer-range missiles fired from bases beyond the reach of Karabakhforces.

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