By Vafa Ismayilova
Engineer and sapper units of the Azerbaijani armed forces continue to clear liberated territories from mines and unexploded ordnance, the Defence Ministry has reported.
Activities for the comprehensive engineering support for the Azerbaijan Army units stationed on the liberated territories are underway. To ensure the safe movement of military vehicle convoys, roads are being demined and restored. New roads are being laid in the direction of human settlements and positions of the Azerbaijani Army units, the report added.
The ministry stressed the seizure of a large number of mines and unexploded ordnance, without providing statistics.
Meanwhile, in its operational report for January 13-14, the Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action (ANAMA) said that 121 pieces of unexploded ordnance, 19 pieces of anti-personnel mines, 45 pieces of anti-tank mines, 14 pieces of anti-tank mine fuses, 7,006 pieces of small arms ammunition of various calibres, 1 hunting gun and 11 fragmentations of exploded shells were found in Aghjabadi, Aghdam, Jabrayil, Goranboy, Gubadli, Zangilan, Tartar, Khojavend regions and Shusha city as part of 22 operations and emergency visits.
ANAMA said that 690 hectares of territories were inspected during the search operations.
On December 22, 2020, 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 after the war ended on November 10, 2020.
On January 1, 2021, in their joint statement, the Azerbaijani Interior Ministry and ANAMA warned all citizens against visiting liberated territories given that those areas, which came under the enemy fire during the war, were contaminated with mines, unexploded ordnance, explosive devices and explosive remnants of the war. In this regard, citizens are temporarily prohibited from entering those areas until safe travel is possible.
ANAMA’s work on liberated territories is being supplemented by Turkish military mine-clearance experts. Azerbaijan’s Defence Ministry reported that 136 Turkish soldiers arrived in mid-December 2020 and begun training their Azerbaijani counterparts. The first group of Turkish sappers arrived in early December. The Turkish soldiers themselves also will be involved in clearing Azerbaijan’s newly-liberated territories.
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 the early 1990s.
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