By Vafa Ismayilova
Azerbaijan continues to search for 24 servicemen who went missing in the 44-day war with Armenia, the Military Prosecutor's Office said on April 20.
The search operations are underway in Tartar, Fuzuli, Jabrayil, Khojavand and Khojaly regions, as well as in Shusha city. The search in the direction of the Murov ridge was postponed until there are favourable weather conditions.
Moreover, the likelihood of releasing Azerbaijani servicemen from captivity and the possibility of finding their bodies on the opposite side is being checked.
The country earlier set up special centres in Fuzuli, Beylagan, Barda, Yevlakh regions and Ganja city to examine the bodies of Azerbaijani servicemen killed in the battles and prepare their remains for burial in line with religious and spiritual traditions.
To date, the bodies of 2,889 martyrs have been identified. Some 1,481 of those deceased were identified through expertise (379 - through the DNA analysis, 1,022 - by matching fingerprints).
After the signing of the Karabakh peace deal in November 2020, it was revealed that 386 Azerbaijani servicemen were missing. The locations and burial places of the bodies of 362 missing servicemen have been established through interrogating witnesses, checking their testimony on the spot and using other data.
Armenia and Azerbaijan resumed the second war over Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh region on September 27 following Yerevan's provocation on the line of contact. Six weeks of fighting ended with the signing of a Russia-brokered peace agreement on November 10.
The deal stipulated the exchange of prisoners as well as bodies of soldiers following the war. The peace agreement also stipulated the return of Armenian-occupied Kalbajar, Aghdam and Lachin regions to Azerbaijan’s control. Before the signing of the agreement, Azerbaijan had liberated around 300 city centres, settlements and villages, including historic Shusha city.
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