By Vafa Ismayilova
Amnesty International has made public details about deadly strikes carried out by Armenian forces on Azerbaijani towns and villages during the 44-day war that lasted from September 27 to November 10, 2021.
In its new report published on January 13, 2021, the organization said that it had documented eight strikes carried out by Armenian forces on towns and villages in Azerbaijan which killed a total of 72 civilians. It added that Armenian forces employed inaccurate ballistic missiles, unguided multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS), and artillery.
"In the city of Ganja on 17 October, 21 civilians were killed and more than 50 injured when a SCUD-B ballistic missile hit the Mukhtar Hajiyev neighbourhood. Sudaba Asgarova’s daughter Nigar was killed in the strike, a day before her 15th birthday," Amnesty International said.
“She was my only child. She was all I had,” the rights watchdog quoted Asgarova as saying.
Ramiz Gahramanov, 64, told Amnesty International that in the same strike his daughter Khatira, 34, was killed along with her son Orkhan, 11, and two daughters Maryam, 6, and Laman, 18, the report added.
In the aftermath of the blast, Ramiz said: “I looked down and when I saw that the house had been completely destroyed, I immediately knew that they had all died because nobody could have survived such destruction. I could not find the bodies of my grandchildren. Parts of their bodies were not found until days later, in the next street, and some parts were not found at all.”
Amnesty International reported that on 27 October, five people were killed and 14 injured when Armenian forces launched a cluster bomb strike on the village of Qarayusifli, causing widespread damage to homes. One of those killed was seven-year-old Aysu Iskandarli, who was playing on a swing in her garden at the time.
Armenian forces also fired several large-calibre rockets into the city of Barda on 28 October, more than 20 km from the frontline. Three rockets landed in the city centre, two of them near two hospitals. The third – a Russian-made 9M55 Smerch rocket containing 72 9N235 cluster submunitions – landed in the middle of a busy roundabout, killing 21 civilians, the organization said.
"On September 27, the day the conflict began, Armenian forces launched an artillery strike in Gashalti, near Naftalan, killing five members of the Gurbanov family and partially destroying their house. Bakhtiar Gurbanov, who lost his parents, along with his brother’s wife, his nephew and niece, told Amnesty International: 'Our family was destroyed. We had started to renovate the house before the war, now we can’t bear to be here anymore.'," the report added.
In early December 2020, the Azerbaijani Prosecutor-General's Office said that 100 civilians were killed and 416 were injured in Armenia's armed attacks.
The clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan escalated for the second time in 2020 after Armenia's forces deployed in the occupied Azerbaijani lands targeted Azerbaijani civilian settlements and military positions, causing casualties among civilians and the military. In the early hours of September 27, Azerbaijan launched a counter-offensive operation which lasted six weeks. The operation resulted in the liberation of Azerbaijan's occupied lands.
A Russia-brokered ceasefire deal that Azerbaijan and Armenia signed on November 10, 2020, brought an end to the 44-day war between the two countries. 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 had occupied.
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