By Vafa Ismayilova
An operation has been launched to demine Azerbaijan's Zangilan and Gubadli regions liberated from the Armenian occupation during the 44-day war between September 27 and November 10.
On 15 December 2020, the Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action (ANAMA) together with specialists from the Interior Ministry and the Internal Troops launched a mine and UXO (unexploded ordnance) clearance operation on the lands allocated for agricultural purposes in Zangilan and Gubadli regions, ANAMA reported.
The agency disclosed details about the work done to fulfil the set task.
As a result of emergency and operational clearance field missions, 684,000 sq.m (68,4 ha) of land had been inspected, 23 pieces of unexploded ordnances and 42 pieces of 5.45-mm-calibre bullets were found on 15-21 December 2020. Some 349,000 sq.m of land in Zangilan and 335,000 sq.m (33,5 ha) in Gubadli had been inspected during the emergency and operational clearance field missions. Emergency and operational clearance field missions are ongoing, the agency said.
In a separate report, ANAMA said that as a response action to the reported 20 emergency calls between 17-20 December about projectiles found in Aghdam, Aghjabadi, Fuzuli, Tartar and Khojavend regions, in close coordination with the Interior Ministry specialists it conducted 31 emergency and operational clearance field missions. Some 123 pieces of unexploded ordnance, 3 pieces of bomblets, 30 pieces of anti-tank mines, 42 pieces of exploded shell remnants were found during the mission.
ANAMA’s demolition team neutralized 111 pieces of mines and unexploded ordnances. Explosive Remnants Awareness Specialists conducted explosive remnants risk awareness campaign among 80, 641 civilians, the agency added.
On December 22, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said that 6 civilians and 6 military servicemen were killed and 7 civilians and 14 military servicemen were injured in landmine blasts starting November 10.
In mid-December, 136 servicemen of the Turkish armed forces arrived in Azerbaijan to help with demining territories recently liberated from the Armenian occupation. The first group of Turkish sappers arrived in early December.
A Moscow-brokered ceasefire deal that Baku and Yerevan signed on November 10 brought an end to six weeks of fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The Azerbaijani army declared a victory against the Armenian troops. The signed agreement obliged Armenia to withdraw its troops from the Azerbaijani lands that it has occupied since early 1990s.
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