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Azerbaijan commemorates occupation of last region in Karabakh war

28 October 2019 15:31 (UTC+04:00)
Azerbaijan commemorates occupation of last region in Karabakh war

By Abdul Kerimkhanov

Today marks the 26th anniversary of the occupation of Azerbaijan’s Zangilan region by Armenian forces on October 28-29 in 1993.

Zangilan was the last Azerbaijani town to be occupied by Armenian forces since the start of the conflict between the two countries in 1988.

Following the occupation of the neighboring Jabrayil and Gubadly regions, Zangilanis remained in complete blockade for 67 days. In the battles lasting for four days, starting from October 25, 1993, Armenian tanks besieged the region from all sides and Zangilan fell into the hands of the occupying forces.

Fearing the massacre, Zengilanis fled the region by crossing the Araz River into the territory of Iran. The civilians were trying to escape the destiny of 613 residents in Khojaly who were massacred after Armenian forces besieged the town in February 1992 and committed the worst atrocities during the entire Nagorno-Karabakh war.

Some 188 Zengilans died defending their town and 44 are missing to this date.

​​Zangilan is a 707-square-kilometers strategic region that had Baku-Julfa-Nakhchivan railroad and was populated by 35,600 people before the occupation. The Minjivan trains station, traversed by the Baku-Minjivan-Gafan railway, was completely destroyed after the occupation. Forty-one kilometers of the Baku-Nakhchivan-Yerevan railway line passing through Mehri fell into blockade.

Zangilan region, which included a city, a settlement and 83 villages, had nine preschool institutions, 19 primary and 15 secondary schools, one vocational school, one music school, 35 libraries, eight cultural centers, 23 club-houses and 22 film projector facilities.

After Zangilan's occupation, more than 35,000 local residents had to be settled in 52 settlements across the country.

Zangilan territory is also rich in archaeological and architectural monuments, the largest of which is the ruins of a medieval city known as Shahri Sharifam.

Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh region along with seven adjacent districts came under occupation of Armenian forces during the war in early 1990s. The occupation displaced around one million Azerbaijanis that were expelled from their homes as a result of the large-scale hostilities.

The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. To this day, Armenia has failed to implement the four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding regions.

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Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94

Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz

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