By Abdul Kerimkhanov
July 7 marks 26 years since the occupation by the Armenian Armed Forces of the city of Aghdara of Azerbaijan’s Tartar region and neighboring villages.
Like the other provinces in Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh region, Aghdara region was captured by the Armenian armed forces during the beginning of the Nagorno-Karabakh war.
Aghdara city was liberated from the Armenian invaders on July 4, 1992. For a year, intensive fighting ensued in nearby villages surrounding Aghdara. The political situation in Azerbaijan was very unstable in those times. Given this opportunity, the Armenian army re-occupied Aghdara on July 7, 1993.
The occupation, accompanied by total ethnic cleansing, led to the expulsion of its entire Azerbaijani population, the destruction of the cultural heritage, the falsification of its image and the infrastructure destruction.
Aghdara is translated from Azerbaijani language as a white valley. The population of Aghdara with an area of 1,705 square meters was 44,400 people before the Armenian occupation.
There were two villages of the district type, 52 villages, 62 cultural centers, 51 libraries, 30 secondary schools, 27 pre-school children entities, seven hospitals and one technical, secondary and vocational school in Aghdara.
It was one of the important cities of the Nagorno-Karabakh region in terms of agriculture. The main sectors in its economy were viticulture, grain crops, tobacco and cattle breeding.
Aghdara had rich deposits of coal, limestone, gold and copper, lead and zinc. There is also the Sarsang reservoir on the Tartar River not far from Aghdara.
After the occupation of these lands, Armenia turned the Sarsang reservoir into a means of humanitarian and ecological terror. The Armenian side, deliberately opening the gutter sections in the winter months, creates conditions for flooding the territories inhabited by Azerbaijanis in the lower Tartar, and during the hot summer months, when there is a need for water, Armenian occupants do not allow to use it.
The occupation regime established in Nagorno-Karabakh carries out illegal actions to plunder the wealth of Aghdara, depleting its natural resources by barbaric methods, including by unlawfully attracting foreign individuals and legal entities.
Today, internally displaced persons from Aghdara live in various cities and regions of Azerbaijan and are surrounded by the care of the state.
Already for 26 years Aghdara has been under Armenian occupation. However, people from this city are sure that the day is not far off when the occupied 20 percent of the territories of Azerbaijan will be liberated and the former inhabitants of those places will return to their homeland.