By Abdul Kerimkhanov
For 26 years already, tens of thousands of Azerbaijanis, who once lived in Fuzuli and Jabrayil regions of the country, have to live outside their historical homeland, as these lands are under Armenian occupation.
Fuzuli region covers territory from the southeastern slopes of Karabakh Mountain range to Araz River. It borders with Jabrayil, Agjabadi and Beylagan regions, as well as Iran along Araz River.
As a result of the Armenian armed forces’ attack on August 23, 1993, as many as 51 villages and center of Fuzuli region were seized by Armenians. Thousands of Azerbaijani martyrs were killed in heavy fighting against the occupiers. There are eight national heroes from Fuzuli region. More than 55,000 inhabitants had to leave their native land.
The occupation of Fuzuli region caused damage of over 5.5 billion manats ($3.2 billion) to the economy of Azerbaijan.
As a result of the occupation, state properties and private properties of citizens, historical monuments of Azerbaijan were destroyed. Azykh Cave and 25 other historic sites are under occupation in Fuzuli. Armenians destroyed Azykh and Taglar Caves, listed as a cultural monument of antiquity by UNESCO. Eastern plane trees and other tree species were completely destroyed in Fuzuli region, as many as 500 hectares of Argunesh forest was burned.
Part of Fuzuli region, in particular, 22 residential points, are currently under the control of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces.
Before the war in Nagorno-Karabakh, Jabrayil was an administrative territorial entity in the south-western part of Azerbaijan. Jabrayil shares its southern border with Iran.
According to the last USSR census of 1989, there were 49,156 people living in the region. Jabrayil had productive soils, and before the war, the population was mostly involved in agriculture.
As a result of the occupation of Jabrayil region, the territory of which is 1,050 square kilometers, 72 secondary school buildings, eight hospitals, five mosques, two museums, 129 historical monuments, 149 cultural centers were seized and destroyed.
Thousands of Azerbaijani martyrs were killed in heavy fighting against the Armenian armed forces. There are six national heroes from Jabrayil region.
The occupation of Jabrayil region caused damage of more than 3 billion manats ($1.8 billion) to the economy of Azerbaijan.
The greatest damage was inflicted to viticulture, animal husbandry, sericulture, animal husbandry in Jabrayil region. Armenians also destroyed important historical monuments, subsoil assets, rich water sources in Jabrayil region, forests were burned.
Currently, IDPs from Fuzuli and Jabrayil regions are housed in more than 50 cities and regions throughout Azerbaijan. Azerbaijani internally displaced persons from Fuzuli and Jabrayil, as well as from every other occupied region of the country, are sure that the day will come when all of them will return to their native lands.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
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