The Artsakh War has entered its 40th day. More than 1100 Armenian servicemen have died in the war, as well as 50 civilians in both Artsakh and Armenia. The number of wounded servicemen has not been released, although it’s safe to say that it is staggering. According to Armenia’s Investigative Committee, there are 21 Armenian POWs in Azerbaijani captivity. As military operations continue, particularly near the fortress city of Shushi, Artsakh’s President said that everything is being done to ensure the symbolic town remains impregnable.
Over 80,000 Armenians, mostly women, children and the elderly, have fled the war in Artsakh and are now scattered throughout Armenia. As winter approaches and with no end to the war in sight, their situation will become complicated and difficult to bear. Over 30,000 students - from kindergarten to university - are deprived of their right to an education because of their displacement.
Here is a chronology of official updates.
9:10 a.m.: According to the Armenian Unified Infocenter, after midnight, the situation in the peaceful settlements of Artsakh remained relatively calm. At dawn, Azerbaijani forces resumed targeting civilian settlements and infrastructure.
The towns of Martuni and Shushi were shelled with various calibre weapons.
10 a.m.: According to the Artsakh Defense Ministry, overnight the situation in all of the directions of the front line was relatively tense but stable. Azerbaijani forces were particularly active in the east, southeast and north. Artsakh Defense Army units have successfully suspended the multiple attacks of Azerbaijani forces. The adversary suffered significant manpower and equipment losses.
Azerbaijani forces attempted to launch an attack in the north, which was detected and destroyed by Defense Army units. During the day, peaceful settlements of Artsakh continued to be targeted by Azerbaijani artillery and missile systems.
At the moment, Azerbaijani forces continue to try to launch attacks in the same directions. The Defense Army is in control of the operative-tactical situation along the entire length of the front line.
12 p.m.: According to Artsakh’s State Service of Emergency Situations, the cities of Berdzor and Shushi and their surrounding areas are being shelled by Azerbaijani forces. The air raid sirens are on. Information about casualties is still not available.
33,000 Students Unable to Exercise Their Right to Education
12 p.m.: Zhanna Andreasyan, Armenia’s Deputy Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport, said that, as a result of the war, 33,000 students are unable to exercise their right to education in kindergartens, schools, colleges and universities. According to the latest updates, 61 schools and 10 kindergartens were targeted in Artsakh as a result of Azerbaijani aggression. Because the territory of Armenia proper has also been targeted by Azerbaijnai forces, over 10,000 students in border communities of Armenia have been unable to attend school since September 28.
12:25 p.m.: The Artsakh Defense Ministry reported that, on November 5 at around 10:30 a.m., Azerbaijani forces attempted to launch an attack in the east, using armored vehicles. Defense Army units and reservists were able to push back Azerbaijani forces, who suffered casualties. The operative-tactical situation remains under the control of the Defense Army.
Artsakh President: All Efforts Are Being Made to Keep Shushi Impregnable
1:05 p.m.: Arayik Harutyunyan, the President of Artsakh, said in a Facebook post that he has been to Shushi, met with the local commanders and discussed the strategy for the fight against the Azerbaijani forces. After meeting with the commanders, Harutyunyan said that all efforts are being made to keep Shushi impregnable.
“Shushi, with its rich cultural and spiritual values and traditions, is one of our greatest legacies we have inherited from our ancestors, and we must pass it on to new generations in the same Armenian spirit,” added the President. He expressed special thanks to Colonel-General Seyran Ohanyan (Armenia’s former Defense Minister).
1:46 p.m.: Artsrun Hovhannisyan of Armenia’s Defense Ministry urged everyone in the diaspora to coordinate all of their initiatives through the local embassies and diplomatic missions.
Free Medical Care to All Citizens Who Have Taken Part in Military Operations
2:45 p.m.: The Health Ministry reported that, by a Government decision, all those citizens who took part in military operations, including volunteers, will receive medical care and medication from the list of basic medicines free of charge. The medication will be given in local polyclinics. Volunteers are required to submit a note to the polyclinic showing that they are registered in the reserve forces.
3:20 p.m.: The Armenian embassy in Italy said in a Facebook post that two Italian communities Drena and Bleggio Superiore have also recognized the independence of Artsakh.
Russia Concerned Radical Mercenaries Being Brought to Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict Zone
5:45 p.m.: The spokesperson of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, announced that members of international terrorist organizations are currently being transferred from the Middle East to Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone. She stressed that these are radical mercenaries: “All this cannot but cause us serious concern, since in the future such a development of the situation is fraught with the emergence of a new terrorist enclave, now in the Transcaucasus.”
6:15 p.m.: According to the Armenian National Committee of America Eastern Region, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey Mayor Mario M. Kranjac passed a resolution recognizing Artsakh and condemning the Azerbaijani and Turkish attacks against the Armenians of Artsakh.
21 Armenian POWs in Azerbaijani Captivity
6:30 p.m.: According to Armenia’s Investigative Committee, at the moment there are 21 Armenian prisoners of war in Azerbaijani captivity.
6:35 p.m.: Artsakh’s State Service of Emergency Situations reported that, during the day, Azerbaijani forces continued to target the peaceful settlements of Artsakh. Heavy artillery was used in Martuni and air raid sirens were on in the city.
Shushi was regularly shelled with a Grad multiple rocket launcher. Objects of civil and public significance were again targeted by Azerbaijani forces, resulting in significant destruction.
The capital Stepanakert twice came under Azerbaijani shelling. Major damage and casualties have not been reported.
Military Operations Continue Near Shushi
7:50 p.m.: Artsakh Defense Ministry reported that military operations continued in the Artsakh-Azerbaijan conflict zone today. Azerbaijani forces attempted attacks in various directions but were neutralized by the Defense Army units. Particularly, small groups of Azerbaijani forces, who were detected in the areas of Karin Tak and Lisagor, were neutralized by snipers. A concentration of Azerbaijani armored vehicles was detected in the direction of Shushi, which was eliminated by the units of the Defense Army.
Defense Ministry Live Press Briefing
10 p.m.: During a live press briefing, Artsrun Hovhannisyan of the Defense Ministry said that yesterday overnight battles continued but the intensity of military operations has decreased. Subversive groups of Azerbaijani forces, that are in the surrounding forests, communities, roads and gorges of Shushi, are trying to “solve certain issues.” Hovhannisyan noted that, in the morning hours, the battles were more tense and artillery was employed in the operations. Throughout the day, small Azerbaijani groups in the northern, central and southern directions, as well as close to Karmir Shuka, have attempted to advance their positions but were pushed back by Armenian forces suffering significant losses. Speaking about the subversive groups operating near Shushi, Hovhannisyan stressed that they are trying to refrain from engaging in military operations with Armenian forces and that some of them were neutralized during the day. Although battles continue and there are difficulties on the battlefield, Hovhannisyan stressed that the situation is not fatal.
Hovhannisyan noted that last night he was in Artsakh and that overnight artillery continued to be used and Armenian forces continued detecting and neutralizing Azerbaijani subversive groups. He said that all those subversive groups and mercenaries, who are looking forward to the “victorious” November 9, when they will be able to wave the Azerbaijani flag are doomed to failure [November 9 is State Flag Day in Azerbaijan]. “They will not succeed because soldiers and the residents of the surrounding villages are defending their homes,” added Hovhannisyan.
While answering reporters' questions, Artsrun Hovhannisyan said that military operations directed toward the neutralization of small Azerbaijani sabotage groups continue near the areas of Karin Tak and Lisagor. He went on to say that, a short time ago, it was reported that another group of Azerbaijani forces consisting of about 30 servicemen was repelled; some managed to retreat and others were killed. Hovhannisyan also said that there is an Azerbaijani flag in the pockets of each killed serviceman and mercenary. “Most probably, Aliyev wants to raise the spirit of his people,” Hovhannisyan said, adding that Aliyev is pinning his hopes on these groups reaching Shushi.
While talking about reporters being stuck in Stepanakert because of Azerbaijani shelling of the roads linking Artsakh to Armenia, Hovhannisyan said that the Defense Army, as well as the authorities of Artsakh, are providing the necessary working conditions for journalists and if they want to continue their work, there are no obstacles. He also said that, if there are people who want to leave, there are roads out of Artsakh.
While talking about the roads, Hovhannisyan said civilians are not allowed to drive through Sotk, Karvajar and Berdzor due to security measures. However, he noted that the units of the Defense Army have secured the road toward Berdzor near Lisagor which was considered dangerous. Today, the road is clear and there are patrols but for the security of citizens (bombings, sabotage groups that can harm people and vehicles), civilian traffic in that direction is restricted.
Palermo Recognizes the Independence of Artsakh
The City Council of Palermo in Italy has recognized the independence of Artsakh. The City Council has also condemned the Azerbaijani aggression against the peaceful population and settlements of Artsakh. The resolution urges the Minister of Education to ensure that schools of all types and levels conduct research on the issues that have plagued the region since the Armenian Genocide of the 20th century.
ECtHR Makes a Statement on Requests for Interim Measures Concerning the Conflict in and Around Nagorno-Karabakh
Since September 27, 2020, the Court has received several requests for interim measures in the context of inter-State applications concerning the ongoing armed conflict in and around the region of Nagorno-Karabakh.
By a decision of September 29, the Court applied Rule 39 of the Rules of Court, calling on both Azerbaijan and Armenia to refrain from taking any measures, in particular military actions, which might entail breaches of the Convention rights of the civilian population, including putting their life and health at risk, and to comply with their engagements under the Convention, notably in respect of Article 2 (right to life) and Article 3 (prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment) of the Convention.
On October 6, the Court decided to apply Rule 39 again, now calling on all States directly or indirectly involved in the conflict, including Turkey, to refrain from actions that contribute to breaches of the Convention rights of civilians, and to respect their obligations under the Convention.
Subsequently, on October 18, the Government of Armenia lodged a request against Azerbaijan, mainly alleging violations of international humanitarian law in the treatment of prisoners of war and other persons captured during the conflict. On October 26, the government of Azerbaijan introduced a request against Armenia, in particular alleging that civilian targets were being attacked and raising issues of territorial sovereignty.
The Court notes that, while based on serious concerns, the two inter-State requests address several subject-matters that do not fall within the Court’s jurisdiction. In so far as the requests relate to the rights under the Convention of individuals concerned, it is reiterated that the above decisions of September 29 and October 6 specifically mention the rights of civilians but also call on all States involved to comply with their engagements under the Convention. The latter expression also includes the Convention rights of those who are captured during the conflict and those whose rights might otherwise be violated.
In these circumstances, the Court finds that the issues raised in the new inter-State requests, to the extent they concern rights under the Convention, are covered by the decisions already taken. The Court reaffirms these decisions and does not see reason to indicate any further general interim measures under Rule 39.
The Court has also received numerous requests under Rule 39 concerning individual captives, lodged either by the Governments of Armenia and Azerbaijan or by relatives of the captives. In these cases, the Court has suspended the examination of Rule 39 and invited the respondent Government to provide information on whether the named individuals have been captured and, if so, under which conditions they are currently held, including any medical examinations or treatment they have undergone. The Court will keep these requests under review. At this point, it further notes the existence of international mechanisms for the protection of persons captured during armed conflict and urges both Armenia and Azerbaijan to participate in the relevant procedures.
Laval Recognizes the Independence of Artsakh
The city of Laval, Canada unanimously recognized the independence of the Republic of Artsakh. In the resolution, the City of Laval:
- recognizes the right of self-determination of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh;
- condemns the military aggression of the Republic of Azerbaijan on the Republic of Artsakh started on September 27, 2020;
- calls on the Government of Canada and the Government of Quebec to do everything in their power to assert full respect for international humanitarian law and particularly the Geneva Conventions;
- invites the Government of Canada to grant the Armenians of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) the right of remedial secession by recognizing the independence of the Republic of Artsakh.