By Vafa Ismayilova
Deputy Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources Vugar Karimov has said that Armenian destroyed 57 hectares of forests in Azerbaijan’s Fuzuli region during its 27-year occupation.
Karimov noted that the country's flora consists of nearly 5,000 species of plants, of which 2,200 (42 percent) are species growing in Karabakh and surrounding territories.
The deputy minister said that before the occupation, the total area of Fuzuli region's forest fund made up 124 hectares.
"Satellite images show that 57 hectares of the region's forest territory, including 11 eastern plane trees with the status of a natural monument, were destroyed during the occupation. Armenians not only cut the century-old trees down but also burned their stumps," he added.
Meanwhile, the head of the ministry's biodiversity protection service, Firudin Aliyev, said that around 1,500 fish fry will be released in the Kondelenchay-1 reservoir in Fuzuli region. He added that 1,000 kutum fry and 500 grass carp will be released into the reservoir.
"This will have a positive impact on the natural recovery and dynamics of fish populations in water basins on the liberated territories," Aliyev said.
An official from the ministry's national geological exploration service, Shahin Atashov, said that the Armenians exploited most of the mineral deposits in Azerbaijan’s Fuzuli region during the occupation.
According to Atashov, there were two deposits of building stone, one sand and gravel deposit, two deposits of clay, and one underground source of water on the balance of the state in Fuzuli.
He noted that there are 167 deposits of nonmetallic minerals and building materials in the territories of Azerbaijan liberated from the Armenian occupation.
The officials made the remarks during their visit to Fuzuli and Khojavand regions.
Armenia’s three-decade occupation of Azerbaijani territories extensively damaged the ecosystem, wildlife and natural resources in and around the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region. Armenians also resorted to large-scale acts of ecological terror in regions they had to leave under the trilateral November peace deal that stipulated the return of Azerbaijan’s occupied territories.
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 that 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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