By Ayya Lmahamad
Azerbaijan and Turkey continue demining operations on territories liberated from Armenia's occupation late last year.
Azerbaijan and Turkey have jointly demined 128 square kilometers in Karabakh, Trend has reported, quoting the Turkish National Defence Ministry.
The ministry noted that Turkey continues to support Azerbaijan in clearing the liberated lands of mines and unexploded ordnance.
"To date, as a result of joint efforts of the Turkish and Azerbaijani militaries, an area of 128 square kilometers has been cleared of mines and unexploded ordnance," the ministry stated.
It was also noted that 1,025 servicemen of the Azerbaijani army were trained in this direction.
"We will continue to support our Azerbaijani brothers in the just struggle in accordance with the motto 'Two States, One Nation'," the ministry stressed.
Meanwhile, Azerbaijan's Mine Action Agency (ANAMA) reported that 51 percent of mine blast accidents occurred as a result of citizens' illegal entry into the liberated territories, while 26 percent - during the exit from the demined territory cleared of mines.
The agency stated that after the liberation of Azerbaijani territories, 24 civilians became victims of mine incidents and 49 civilians were injured. It was also noted that the number of such accidents increased in past days.
“We urge citizens to refuse illegal visits to the liberated territories, which are critically contaminated with mines and unexploded ordnance, and wait for the completion of the process of clearing these lands,” the agency stated.
On November 29, the agency reported that 51 mines and munitions - one anti-personnel and 36 anti-tank mines, as well as 14 unexploded ordnances were found and defused in Tartar, Aghdam, Fuzuli, Shusha, Gubadli, Jabrayil and Zangilan regions from November 22 to November 27. Overall, 50 hectares were cleared of mines and unexploded ordnance in this period.
Armenia deliberately and constantly planted mines on the Azerbaijani territories, in violation of the 1949 Geneva Convention, thereby being a major threat to regional peace, security and cooperation.
About 180 Azerbaijanis have been killed or injured in the explosion of mines laid by Armenians in Azerbaijan’s formerly occupied regions since the end of the war in autumn 2020 that saw Azerbaijan liberate most of its territories in and around Karabakh.
On June 12, Azerbaijan handed over 15 Armenian prisoners in exchange for a map detailing the location of 97,000 mines in formerly-occupied Aghdam.
On July 3, Armenia submitted to Azerbaijan maps of about 92,000 anti-tank and anti-personnel mines planted during the occupation of Fuzuli and Zangilan regions.
In his interview to CNN Turk channel on August 14, President Ilham Aliyev said that the accuracy of the maps provided by Armenia at the latest stage is only 25 percent.
Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a Russia-brokered peace agreement on November 10, 2020, to end 44 days of fighting and work toward a comprehensive resolution.
Ayya Lmahamad is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @AyyaLmahamad
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