november 3 update

As Stepanakert and Shushi came under shelling again this evening, Artsakh’s State Service of Emergency Situations said that Azerbaijan has started using banned incendiary cluster munitions in Artsakh. According to the announcement by the State Service, these are banned weapons under the Geneva Convention and these types of weapons are intended for “mass destruction and incineration of territories.”

In an interview with Russian “Kommersant” newspaper, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov discussed the ongoing war in Artsakh and said that Russia is urging external players, including Turkey, to use their powers to prevent mercenaries from the Middle East from being sent to the Nagorno-Karabakh region. He added that there are currently about 2,000 mercenaries fighting in the war alongside Azerbaijani forces.

Artsrun Hovhannisyan of the Armenia’s Defense Ministry said that Azerbaijani forces under the pretext of removing their killed servicemen, used smoke projectiles to try and launch an incursion attempt, which was repelled by Artsakh Defense Army units.


Here is a chronology of official updates.

The Refugees: A Family of Strangers

As the war rages on, almost 80,000 Armenians from Artsakh have fled their native towns and cities and found refuge throughout Armenia proper. While they are grateful for the care they are receiving, their dream is to go back home.

8:55 a.m.: According to Artsakh’s State Service of Emergency Situations, although the situation overnight in civilian settlements was relatively calm, in the early morning hours, Azerbaijani forces resumed their offensive and started shelling the cities of Martuni and Shushi using Smerch rocket launchers. No casualties have been reported. The situation in other settlements remains stable.

9:20 a.m.: According to the Artsakh Defense Ministry: Overnight, Defense Army units fought defensive battles in the eastern, southeastern and southern directions, destroying Azerbaijani vehicles, including a tank, and causing significant casualties.

In the eastern direction, along a small section of the front line, Defense Army Forces retreated due to tactical reasons, occupying more favorable positions for further combat operations.

In the morning, Azerbaijani forces attempting to advance in the south were pushed back. Armenian forces also silenced an Azerbaijani offensive in the north. At the moment, Azerbaijani forces continue trying to turn the tactical advantage to their side. The Defense Army is in control of the operative-tactical situation.


Pashinyan Expresses Condolences to Austrian Chancellor

11 a.m.: Following yesterday’s terrorist attack in Vienna, Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan sent his condolences to Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurtz. He said that the Armenian people’s prayers are with the people of Austria and that Artsakh has been fighting against the Azerbaijani-Turkish-terrorist tandem for over a month now. Chancellor Kurtz responded to Pashinyan by saying that Austria will not be intimidated by acts of terror and “Together we will defend our open societies and democratic values.”

The significance of the attack having taken place in Vienna was noted by Armenian commentators. In an interview with German Bild, on October 4, Pashinyan had said that when Turkey recruited and transferred terrorists from Syria to fight against Nagorno-Karabakh, the situation on the ground was no longer a local security issue, but was now an integral part of the global agenda. He said the involvement of Turkish troops in the conflict is an expression of Turkey’s imperial policy and that Turkey had returned to the South Caucasus after an interval of 100 years to continue the Armenian Genocide that had taken place in 1915. He went on to say that, if the international community does not accurately assess the geopolitical significance of the situation, “then Europe should wait for Turkey near Vienna.”

Later, on October 30, during an interview with a number of international media organizations, including The Telegraph, Foreign Policy, European Post and Il Giornale, Pashinyan again referred to what might await Europe if the situation in Artsakh is not taken seriously. Asked about his expectations from the European Union, Pashinyan said that Armenians had pinned their hopes on their own resources including those countries that are bound by bilateral agreements and commitments with Armenia. He said that the EU should take action for itself. “It is up to you to make the appropriate decision. My responsibility is to ensure the security of Yerevan, Armenia and the Armenian people; Vienna’s security is not in my working portfolio. I can only warn you against the imminent threat,” said Pashinyan. “This war started earlier in Europe, and it is going on every day. The fact that long-range artillery is not being deployed over there does not mean that the war has not started yet. That war is going on. There are forces that know the following: Europe has been living in prosperity for about 60 years, and prosperity prevents them from noticing the war that is taking place in Europe today, because a prosperous person tends to be guided by a ‘wishful thinking logic’ until bombs explode in the courtyards, houses. This opens up a vast field for many dark forces.”

Marco Dreosto, an Italian Member of the European Parliament (MEP), a day after Pashinyan’s interview, tweeted a reference to his warning. And then on November 3, tweeted again and said that the terrorist attack wasn’t at the gates of Vienna, but rather in the very center of the city.


Banned Incendiary Cluster Munitions 

12:12 p.m.: According to the State Emergency Service of Artsakh, a new type of weapon utilized by Azerbaijani forces was found in the territory of Artsakh. The investigation revealed that it was an incendiary cluster munition,about 40 cm in length, prohibited for use against civilian populations in accordance with the Geneva Convention and other international conventions. According to the announcement, this type of weapon is intended for “mass destruction and incineration of territories.”


12:32 p.m.: Nikol Pashinyan said in a Facebook post that it is obvious to him that a hybrid world war has started and the more the world continues to ignore it, the more it will become noticeable. “This war is equally directed against Christians, Muslims and Jews. Nagorno-Karabakh, by the way, is the anti-terrorist front of that war and without exaggeration, also the fate of civilization is decided here. Civilization must win! We are with you, Vienna,” the Prime Minister said.


12:52 p.m.: MoD spokesperson Shushan Stepanyan announced that the Armenian side did not fire on the direction of Fizuli and nearby villages using Smerch rocket launchers. “There was no shelling from the territory of the Republic of Armenia,” Stepanyan said.


3 p.m.: According to Artsrun Hovhannisyan of the Defense Ministry:

Over the last several days, hostilities have taken place on the southeastern front line (Shekher-Karmir Shuka-Taghavard). Hovhannisyan said that following military operations, “Defense Army forces and volunteer corps organized a genuine ‘hell’ in our forests and valleys.”

Azerbaijan’s terrorist groups and special forces have suffered and continue to suffer great losses in terms of casualties and military equipment. “Currently, reconnaissance operations… continue in the areas where the adversary’s forces are deployed.”

4:20 p.m.: Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei tweeted that war between its neighbors - Armenia and Azerbaijan - is a “bitter event and must end as soon as possible.” Khamenei said that Azerbaijani land seized by Armenia must be “freed and the safety of its Armenian residents must be secured.” He also said that any terrorist activity near its borders will be dealt with severely.


4:30 p.m.: According to Defense Ministry spokesperson Shushan Stepanyan, Azerbaijani forces launched artillery fire in the direction of Armenian units. According to Stepanyan, several artillery projectiles fell in the territory of Iran.

4:42 p.m.: According to the Artsakh Defense Army, at 1:30 p.m., Azerbaijani forces, using smoke projectiles in the direction of Karvachar, tried to retrieve the bodies of their servicemen killed during military operations from the previous day from a gorge. However, they were pushed back by artillery fire by Defense Army units, leaving behind the bodies of another two of their soldiers.

According to the announcement, 10 minutes later, a group of 30 Azerbaijani soldiers, taking cover from the smoke in the no-man’s land, launched an incursion attempt. The units of the Defense Army were able to impede their movement; they retreated to their initial positions suffering losses.


At 2:30 p.m., the Defense Army detected an accumulation of Azerbaijani forces. The Armenian side again suspended the attempts of the adversary, and eliminated four soldiers who were trying to take refuge.

By late afternoon, the operative situation in Karvachar and other directions was under the control of Artsakh Defense Army units.


Russian Foreign Minister on the Situation in the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict Zone

5 p.m.: In an interview with Russian “Kommersant” newspaper, Sergey Lavrov, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia, also discussed the ongoing war in Artsakh and announced that Russia urges external players, including Turkey, to use their powers to prevent mercenaries from the Middle East being sent to the Nagorno-Karabakh region. He added that there are currently about 2,000 mercenaries fighting in the war.

"We have repeatedly called on external players to use their capabilities to prevent the transfer of mercenaries, whose number in the conflict zone, according to available data, is already approaching 2,000. In particular, the issue was raised by Russian President Vladimir Putin during a phone conversation with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on October 27 and during regular conversations with leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia," Lavrov said.

He also talked about the activities of the OSCE Minsk Group, adding that it has not yet agreed on how the ceasefire will be observed. "The statement adopted after talks in Moscow on October 10 did not specify the specific parameters for observing the ceasefire. It is very difficult… So far, it has not been possible to agree on all the parameters. Work in this direction continues, including within the framework of the co-chairmanship in the OSCE Minsk Group," the minister stated. He also added that a mechanism for ceasefire observation shall be installed as soon as possible and Yerevan and Baku shall agree to have those.

Lavrov also noted that Moscow thinks that it’s good to work with nations outside the OSCE Minsk Group Mediation of the Nagorno-Karabakh, which is co-chaired by France, Russia and the United States in order to resolve the conflict.

"We are in favour of working with all partners, including the neighbors of the parties, who have the opportunity to influence the protagonists in order to create conditions for reaching a diplomatic solution in line with the basic principles of settlement promoted by the co-chairs in contacts with Baku and Yerevan," Lavrov said.


6:45 p.m.: According to Defense Ministry spokesperson Shushan Stepanyan, battles continue in the Artsakh-Azerbaijan conflict zone. Military operations were particularly intensive in the eastern and southeastern directions of the front line at around 2:10 p.m. The units of the Artsakh Defense Army continue to repel Azerbaijani forces causing material and human losses. The Armenian side was able to destroy two Azerbaijani tanks and confiscate one infantry military vehicle.


Artsakh President on Terrorism in Vienna

6:55 p.m.: President Arayik Haruyunyan of Artsakh wrote the following on his Facebook Page:

The terrorist operations last night in Vienna, Austria proved yet again that the battle against international terrorism cannot be selective because it is the greatest threat of our times against humanity.

No country in the world is safe from terrorism. I am deeply convinced that terrorism must not be associated with any civilization, religion, people or ethnic group. We express our deep sorrow and condolences to the relatives of the victims of the tragedy and wish a speedy recovery to the injured.

For more than a month now, our country, in front of the eyes of the international community, has also been the target of terrorism, fighting against the aspirations and attempts of Azerbaijan and Turkey to turn the South Caucasus into a new hotbed of terrorism.

The people of Artsakh are being subjected to terrorism and crimes against humanity, suffering great human and material losses.

We strongly condemn any act of terrorism, any attempt to intentionally target civilians on the basis of ethnicity or religion.

Any act of justifying those who support terrorism, extremism, the perpetrators or those who finance them, as well as those who incite violence on the grounds of hatred, must be strongly condemned.

The Artsakh Republic continues to adhere to these principles and is ready to contribute in the fight against terrorism, to the strengthening of international and regional security, and will fight to the end for its right to live and prosper safely.


Stepanakert and Shushi Targeted Again

9:35 p.m.:  According to Artsakh’s State Service of Emergency Situations, Azerbaijani forces opened fire in the direction of Artsakh’s Maternity Hospital using Smerch rocket launchers. One civilian was wounded and was transferred to hospital. The Azerbaijani side also opened fire in the direction of a residential district, seriously damaging homes, a garage and one car that was burned. The town of Shushi also came under bombardment; two houses have been set ablaze. Firefighters are working on-site and information about casualties is being clarified.


9:25 p.m.: According to the Artsakh Defense Army, Azerbaijani forces continue to shell Arstakh’s civilian settlements. A few minutes ago, Stepanakert and Shushi were targeted and, according to preliminary data, one civilian has been wounded.


Ministry of Defense Live Press Briefing

10 p.m.: In a live press briefing, Artsrun Hovhannisyan of the Defense Ministry said that, from early morning, Azerbaijani forces along with their mercenaries continued their offensive in almost all of the directions of the front line. He reminded that a photo and video evidence was provided earlier today by the Defense Ministry, showing how a subversive group of Azerbaijani forces was neutralized near Taghavart village. Military operations against Azerbaijani subversive groups also continued in the direction of other villages. Early in the morning, Azerbaijani forces attempted to launch an attack in the southern direction from the city of Martuni, using artillery, air forces and armored vehicles. They were pushed back after suffering significant losses. Throughout the day, Armenian forces continued neutralizing the forces of the adversary using artillery. In the afternoon, Azerbaijani forces taking cover from the smoke in the no-man’s land, launched an incursion attempt in the northern direction, near Karvachar. Hovhannisyan noted that they were detected and pushed back by the Armenian forces. Around 9:30 p.m., Azerbaijani forces started shelling civilian settlements, including the Shushi and Stepanakert, and the Maternity Hospital located in the capital. Casualties and damage have been reported.


Genocide Watch Statement on Armenia, Artsakh and Azerbaijan

“We consider Azerbaijan the aggressor in this war. With Turkey and Azerbaijan both espousing the exclusionary ideology of pan-Turanism, and with both nations now invading Artsakh, we believe there is grave danger of genocide being committed by Azerbaijan and Turkey against the Armenians of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh).”

“Genocide Watch’s mission is to predict, prevent, stop and punish genocide. To achieve this mission, Genocide Watch’s research analysts examine reliable sources from all sides of conflicts. While Genocide Watch remains staunchly unbiased in its research and analysis, our mission to prevent genocide requires us to support all people under threat of genocide.

“Genocide Watch stands by both its Genocide Emergency Alert on Azerbaijan’s Invasion of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) and its Country Report on Armenia and Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh).

“We check facts and consider our judgments carefully. The same team of researchers wrote both Genocide Watch’s Country Report on Armenia and Artsakh and Genocide Emergency Alert on Azerbaijan’s Invasion of Artsakh. Their mission is to shed light on all sides of conflicts.

Our Country Report on Armenia is critical of Armenia and Artsakh's displacement of Azerbaijanis, especially during the Nagorno-Karabakh War years between 1988-1994.

However, this criticism does not imply Genocide Watch’s neutrality about Azerbaijan’s current invasion of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh). We consider Azerbaijan the aggressor in this war.

“With Turkey and Azerbaijan both espousing the exclusionary ideology of pan-Turanism, and with both nations now invading Artsakh, we believe there is grave danger of genocide being committed by Azerbaijan and Turkey against the Armenians of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh).

“Azerbaijan's historic persecution of Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh forfeited Azerbaijan's claim to sovereignty over the territory. The Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) rejected Azerbaijani sovereignty when they voted for independence.

“That view does not mean that we are uncritical of the forced displacement of hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis from Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) during Artsakh’s war for independence.

“The need for compensation for Azerbaijani displaced persons for loss of their homes and livelihoods in Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) must be addressed in a peace agreement between Armenia, Artsakh, and Azerbaijan.

“The most important priority now is that this potentially genocidal war must be stopped.

When genocide threatens, only the stars can be neutral.”

November 2

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin Had Phone Conversations With the Leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan

According to a Kremlin announcement, on November 1 and 2, Russia's President Vladimir Putin had telephone conversations with Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan and President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev. The participants discussed in detail the issues of settling the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.


Nikol Pashinyan’s Interview to Jerusalem Post

On October 2, Prime Minister Nikol Pashiyan gave an exclusive interview to the Jerusalem Post. The Prime Minister stated that Israel has lined up with Turkey, terrorists and Syrian mercenaries in backing Azerbaijan in the current conflict with Armenia, and will eventually suffer the consequence of that unholy alliance. He condemned Jerusalem for arming Azerbaijan which aims to carry out genocide agaist Armenians in Artsakh.

In an interview, Nikol Pashinyan stressed that Israel is actively engaged in the conflict since Azerbaijan is using Israeli UAVs. “I think that Israel should think about the following. Mercenaries, Islamic terrorists and Israel are now on the same side basically. So Israel should think, is this really a convenient position for it to be?”

Early in October, Armenia recalled its ambassador to Israel to protest arms sales of Israel to Azerbaijan. After that, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin offered humanitarian aid to Armenia.

Answering journalist’s questions about whether Armenia is interested in aid or not, Pashinyan replied: “Humanitarian aid by a country that is selling weapons to mercenaries, which they are using to strike a civilian peaceful population? I propose that Israel send that aid to the mercenaries and to the terrorists as the logical continuation of its activities.”

Nikol Pashinyan also talked about the the involvement of Turkey and Syrian mercenaries in the conflict, stating that it has complicated the situation: “Their presence in the region poses a threat not only to Nagorno-Karabakh, but also Iran has stated that it views it as a threat, and Russia has stated that it views it as a threat.”

In the interview, Pashinyan also talked about the international security threat regarding the mercenaries and terrorists. “Shifts are taking place in the international security system, and those shifts also contain elements of hybrid warfare. Mercenaries are engaging in that warfare. And that hybrid warfare can be manifested in different ways – it can be manifested in ways which we see in Nagorno-Karabakh, or in ways in which we are seeing in Vienna, or in Nice, in France,” Pashinyan said.

The Prime Minister noted that the situation is dangerous and the international community should take actions against it since it is a “new Turkish modus operandi – what he called a ‘mechanism’ – in its aim to ‘reinstate the Ottoman Empire, as strange as that may sound.’” According to Pashinyan, this “mechanism” – recruiting mercenaries from among the Syrian population under Turkish control to advance Ankara’s foreign policy goals – has already been used in Libya, is now evident in Nagorno-Karabakh, “and who knows where it will be tried next.”

Pashinyan concluded by noting that it was only a matter of time before Turkey’s “imperialistic ambition” will be aimed toward Israel.



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