By Vugar Khalilov
On December 1, Azerbaijan marks the first anniversary of Lachin region’s liberation from Armenia’s almost 30-year occupation in 2020.
Under a trilateral ceasefire deal signed by Baku, Moscow and Yerevan on November 10, 2020, Lachin was returned back to Azerbaijan on December 1, 2020.
Armenia occupied Lachin on May 18, 1992, as a result of which hundreds of cultural and historical monuments, civilian objects, as well as dozens of settlements, villages in the region were destroyed and plundered by the invaders.
Some 63,341 Azerbaijani citizens were expelled from their homes and over 300 servicemen and civilians were killed or went lost as a result of the occupation. Some 8,950 buildings, including seven industrial and construction enterprises, 471 service points and 154 schools, hundreds of historical and cultural monuments came under Armenia’s control in the region.
As an important geostrategic point, the loss of Lachin inflicted serious damage on Azerbaijan’s economy. The region also is rich in natural resources and has healing springs such as Turshsu, Galaderasi, Aganus, Khirmanlar, Tigig, Turshtigig, Nureddin, Nagdali, Hajikhanli.
Azerbaijan’s Ecology and Natural Resources Ministry reported that three mercury deposits (Narzanli, Chilgazchay, Saribulag) with 1,124 tons of total reserves, Gochaz marble limestone, used for facing stone production, with 2,533 cubic meters of the reserve, two tuff deposits (Agoglan, Ahmadli), used for sawn stone production, two coloured decorative stone deposits, as well as volcanic ash and other natural resources had been found in Lachin region.
Furthermore, the region hosts the Garagol and the Lachin state nature reserves, which cover 240 hectares area with 68 animal and thousands of plant species. Rare fauna species, such as roe deer, goat, wild boar, bear, blackbird, partridge, and blackbird are common in the State Reserve, which was created in November 1961 to protect and increase biodiversity. During the survey conducted in 1989 in the reserve, 96 mountain goats (bezoar goats), 360 wild boars, 320 roe deer, 110 bears, as well as a large number of wolves, badgers, squirrels, pheasants, and partridges were recorded.
Almost for three decades, Armenia ignored the norms of international law and UN resolutions on the unconditional withdrawal of Armenian troops from Azerbaijan’s occupied lands.
Azerbaijan and Armenia resumed the war after that latter started firing at Azerbaijani civilians and military positions starting September 27, 2020. The war ended on November 10 with the signing of a trilateral peace deal by the Azerbaijani, Russian and Armenian leaders.
The peace agreement stipulated the return of Azerbaijan's Armenian-occupied Kalbajar, Aghdam and Lachin regions. Before the signing of the deal, the Azerbaijani Army had liberated around 300 villages, settlements, city centers, and historic Shusha city. 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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