By Rashid Shirinov
August 23 sees the 25th anniversary of the occupation of Azerbaijan’s two ancient and beautiful regions of Fuzuli and Jabrayil by the Armenian invasion troops.
The enemy forces occupied the entire Jabrayil region and over 90 percent of Fuzuli, leaving more than 116,000 residents displaced.
Fuzuli region was subjected to constant attacks by Armenian belligrant forces since 1988, when Armenia began its territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the occupation in August 1993, more than 1,100 residents of the region were martyred, 113 were taken hostage and 1,450 people were left disabled.
As in other invaded Azerbaijani territories, in Fuzuli Armenian armed forces pursued the campaign of ruining cultural and historical monuments in this ancient land after its occupation. Ancient historical monuments of world importance were left under occupation in Fuzuli and many of them are now destructed.
The most famous of Fuzuli monuments is the Azykh Cave. A Neanderthal-style jaw bone found there 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.
Now the Azykh cave as well as the Taghlar cave are under Armenian occupation.
The Fuzuli region had unusual flora and fauna, mineral springs and was also famous for its forests, which accommodated precious woods. After the occupation, Armenians ruthlessly cut down trees, destroying the nature and plundering the natural wealth.
The Jabrayil region was occupied on the same day. As a result of the region’s seizure, more than 350 people were killed, 177 people were disabled and 91 were captured or went missing. Moreover, 72 secondary school buildings, eight hospitals, five mosques, two museums, 129 historical monuments and 149 cultural centers were left under occupation.
Jabrayil, spanning a territory of 1,050 square kilometers, had a population of over 60,000 people before the Armenian invasion. Such spheres as viticulture, livestock farming and cereals cultivation played a main role in the economy of the region.
Many historical and archaeological monuments as well as masterpieces of architecture such as the Khudafarin bridges of the 12-13th centuries, Sultan Majid bath-house, Maiden Tower in Diridag mountain, many burial mounds, tombs, mosques, hammams and turbehs existed in Jabrayil before its occupation.
The calculations showed that the region suffered $14 million damage because of the Armenian occupation. Some 61,100 internally displaced persons from the region now are obliged to live in more than 2,000 settlements in 58 regions of Azerbaijan.
Today the Jojug Marjanli village of Jabrayil region is under the full control of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces, since it was fully liberated from the Armenian occupation in April 2016, when the Azerbaijani Army prevented an Armenian provocation on the contact line. Life has already returned to Jojug Marjanli, and all Azerbaijani IDPs believe that other villages and regions of Azerbaijan will be liberated eventually and they will return to the native lands.
Azerbaijan tries to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict as soon as possible, while the aggressor Armenia does the opposite by making every effort to preserve the status quo in Nagorno-Karabakh. Currently, 20 percent of the Azerbaijani territories remain under Armenian occupation and over 1 million of refugees and IDPs have to live far away from their homes. Armenia yet ignores the UN Security Council's four resolutions on immediate withdrawal from the internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan.
Rashid Shirinov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @RashidShirinov
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