“Freedom cannot be bestowed — it must be achieved.”
Independence and freedom of a country are irreplaceable and nothing in the world can force a country to forfeit its right to independence nor its lawful territories. Today, on November 8, Azerbaijan is celebrating Victory Day to commemorate its triumph over Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Nagorno-Karabakh region, also known as Upper Karabakh, along with its seven adjacent districts, is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan. Till last year, it was under the illegal and tyrannical occupation of the Armenian forces; since the early 1990s. On 27 September 2020, clashes erupted in the region because of Armenia’s belligerence.
For years the Nagorno-Karabakh region and its natives had been subjected to brutality at the hands of Armenia. The blatant violation by Armenia continued despite many resolutions by the United Nations to end its illegal occupation of the region.
Eventually, Azerbaijan managed to rightfully liberate Nagorno-Karabakh in an impressive tactical and strategic feat. Five city-centers, four towns, and 286 villages were liberated after Forty-four days of clashes. The war ended with a Russia-brokered truce. Yerevan was forced to evacuate the cities of Lachin, Aghdam, and Kalbajar as part of the cease-fire.
According to a statement by the Defense Ministry of Azerbaijan, a total of 2,783 Azerbaijani soldiers valiantly embraced martyrdom in the Upper Karabakh battle waged by the Azerbaijani troops; to liberate lands from the Armenian occupation.
Nagorno-Karabakh: A Historical Background
Historically, the Karabakh region is an inherent part of Azerbaijan. From ancient times to its acquisition in the early 19th century by the Russian Empire, it has been a part of different Azerbaijani states.
From 1828 to 1911 approximately 1,000,000 Armenians from Persia and Ottoman Turkey settled in the region of the South Caucasus, including the Azerbaijani territories. However, under the shadow of Bolshevism, Armenians committed many atrocities to accomplish their nefarious designs. Ever since the Armenians have been carrying out a series of large-scale massacres against the Azerbaijanis
Following the First World War and the Bolshevik revolution in Russia, the Armenian nationalists began implementing their plans to usurp Baku. As a result, the perpetrators launched a systematic elimination of the Azerbaijanis.
Aside from Baku, thousands of Azerbaijanis were annihilated in the Shamakhy and Guba districts, as well as in Karabakh, Nakhchivan, Zangazur, Lankaran, and other regions of Azerbaijan. The civilian population was slaughtered en masse, national monuments were damaged, and villages were torched.
On 28 May 1918, the independence of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was declared. Unfortunately, it lost its freedom under Soviet rule until the disintegration of the USSR. For the independence struggle of Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev is a notable name. After the tragedy of Black January, Heydar Aliyev made a vow to punish the perpetrators who committed such atrocities against the Azerbaijani people.
He also left the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1991, as a protest against their hypocrisy towards the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Later, he served as the President of the country. Ultimately, on December 29, 1991, with the disintegration of the USSR, a nationwide referendum affirmed the independence of Azerbaijan.
The Khojaly Massacre is one of the most horrifying and terrible incidents in Azerbaijan history. It was a ruthless and brutal act in the history of humankind perpetrated by Armenia. Azerbaijan has been suffering ethnic cleansing and genocide at the hands of Armenians, for 200 years.
The genocide was committed on 26 February 1992 and it became the largest massacre during the entire Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Khojlay is located on an important highway within the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Armenians began an attack in early-1992 perpetrating unscrupulous acts of brutality against the civilian populace. According to an estimate 613 civilians, including 106 women and 63 children, were brutally murdered.
44 Day War
More recently, the resolve of Azerbaijan again came to the fore. The 44 Day War is an embodiment of Azerbaijani military prowess as well as the utilization of emerging technologies in war. A year ago, on 27 September 2020, Azerbaijan started the liberation of its territory; Nagorno-Karabakh. Nagorno-Karabakh had been occupied by Armenia for nearly 30 years.
The Armenian aggression at Tovuz initiated the war. Despite the provocation of Armenia, Azerbaijan preferred peace. However, the persistent violence by Armenia compelled Azerbaijan to restore its territorial integrity through war.
Azerbaijan became the victor by the ingenious use of advanced battlefield technology. The Commander in Chief, President Ilham Aliyev played a significant role in the planning and implementation of the campaign.
In the first phase, Azerbaijan utilized drones against Armenia’s air defense. Never before had drones been utilized in war to incapacitate the opponent, in such a manner. Azerbaijan changed the history of warfare by introducing Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in mainstream combat. Once the air defense of Armenia was neutralized, the UAVs; Bayraktar-launched glide bombs and suicide HAROPs, were deployed against Armenian tanks, armored vehicles, and reinforcements.
Azerbaijani forces liberated the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh during the 44-Day War, including Shusha which is the cultural capital of the country; proving yet again the resilience and tenacity of the Azerbaijanis.
Today Azerbaijan is celebrating Victory Day to celebrate Azerbaijan’s triumph against Armenia. After the liberation of its rightful territory, Azerbaijan ensured the settlement of approximately 1 million Azerbaijani migrants in their ancestral homeland. The liberated areas were refurbished and restored and the area was cleared of mines.