By Rashid Shirinov
August 23 marks the 24th anniversary of the occupation of Azerbaijan's Fuzuli and Jabrayil regions by the Armenian invasion troops.
The enemy forces occupied the entire Jabrayil regions and over 90 percent of Fuzuli, leaving more than 116,000 inhabitants displaced.
As a result of the occupation, more than 1,100 inhabitants of Fuzuli were martyred, 113 - were taken prisoner and 1,450 people were left disabled.
The Fuzuli region covers a territory from the southeastern slopes of the Karabakh Mountain range to the Araz river. It is bordered with the Azerbaijani regions of Khojavand, Jabrayil, Agjabadi, Beylagan and Iran from the south, along the Araz River.
The ancient historical monuments of world importance in Fuzuli region were left under the occupation and many of them were destructed.
Azykh and Taghlar caves in the Fuzuli region are also under the occupation. The both caves, as well as other ancient monuments were destroyed by Armenians. A Neanderthal-style jaw bone found in 1968 is thought to be over 300,000 years old and thus one of the oldest proto-human remains found in this part of the world. Archaeological samples found in Azykh Paleolithic camp were shown at the Paris Museum's exhibition "The first inhabitants of Europe" in 1981.
Fuzuli also had unusual flora and fauna, mineral springs and was also famous for its forests, which accommodated precious woods. After the occupation of the region, Armenians ruthlessly cut down trees, destroying the nature and plundering the natural wealth.
As a result of the seizure of the Jabrayil region, whose territory spans 1,050 sq.km, 72 secondary school buildings, eight hospitals, five mosques, two museums, 129 historical monuments and 149 cultural centers were left under the occupation.
Residents of Jabrayil were engaged in livestock farming, cereals cultivation, viticulture and other spheres. However, their life changed terribly on August 23, 1993. Armenians killed more than 350 people, made 177 people disabled, and 91 people were captured or went missing.
Due to the invasion, Jabrayil suffered the damage of $14 billion.
The Jabrayil region was also rich with historical architectural monuments – Khudafarin bridges of the 12-13th centuries, Sultan Majid bath-house, Maiden Tower in Diridag mountain, many burial mounds, tombs, mosques and other ancient constructions.
Today, only one-Jojuglu Marjanli village of Jabrayil's 90 villages is under control of the Azerbaijani armed forces. The village was fully liberated from the Armenian occupation in April 2016, when Azerbaijani Armed Forces prevented an Armenian provocation on the contact line.
Today, Azerbaijan’s internally displaced persons from Fuzuli, Jabrayil and other occupied regions have to live far away from their homes.
Armenia still controls fifth part of Azerbaijan's territory and rejects implementing four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from Azerbaijan's Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding regions. However, all Azerbaijani IDPs believe that justice will be served one day, Armenia will withdraw from Azerbaijani lands, the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan will be restored, and they will return to live in their native places.
Rashid Shirinov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @RashidShirinov
Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz