By Mushvig Mehdiyev
Armenia attracts mercenaries from foreign countries to serve in its army, said a top military official in Azerbaijan.
Defense Minister, Zakir Hasanov said a sharp shortfall of soldiers in the Armenian army pushed Yerevan to hire soldiers from various foreign countries, including Lebanon and Syria.
"Even civilians have been forcibly deployed in the frontline units of the Armenian army," Hasanov said in a meeting on April 13 on the outcomes of the recent exercises of the armed forces.
The minister expressed his confidence that the occupied lands of Azerbaijan will be liberated soon given the army's high-level combat and morale readiness.
"Our army is now the strongest in the region due the direct attention and care of Supreme Commander in Chief Ilham Aliyev. The most modern weapons and military equipment are at the disposal of our army. The morale of our men is rising day by day," Hasanov said.
Assessing the Armenian forces' current situation, he said all attempts from the enemy to launch provocative pushes against the Azerbaijani troops ended in fiasco -- men and material losses.
"Yerevan tries zealously to sweep its losses under the carpet. Nonetheless, we are fully aware of the recent situation in the occupied lands. According to data we collected from various sources and even from Armenia itself, the army's condition in our occupied territories is very deplorable," Hasanov noted.
That is not the Armenian people we are fighting against, but the criminal political regime and the leadership in Armenia, emphasized the minister.
"The only way to liberate our lands is the final and unconditional withdrawal of the Armenian troops from the occupied territories. If it fails, the alternative is the use of force. The enemy should realize it and not try Azerbaijan's patience," Hasanov noted.
Being confident of the army's versatile readiness, the minister said the Azerbaijani armed forces are ready to carry out any order from the Supreme Commander, adding that the Azerbaijani soldiers will justify people's trust and country's leadership in any case.
"The key duty of the armed forces is being ready to destroy the enemy. We are always ready for that. Training and exercises of all types of the armed forces aimed at increasing their combat readiness, the level of professionalism and our men's battle determination prove that the day of victory is already close," Hasanov concluded.
Azerbaijan's leadership is now attaching a great deal of attention and importance to its army building measures as part of its state policy amid the unresolved territorial conflict with Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
The Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions of Azerbaijan are currently under Armenia's occupation following a sudden and insidious aggression by this smallest South Caucasus country in the early 1990s. While Yerevan continues to justify the occupation of 20 percent of Azerbaijan's territory by backing the separatist puppet regime in Nagorno-Karabakh, Baku and international organizations have worked hard to end the conflict in peace.
International decision makers unequivocally recognize the occupied lands as part of Azerbaijan's territorial integrity and the United Nations Security Council adopted four resolutions urging Armenia to pull its troops out of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Nonetheless, the former and incumbent rulers in Yerevan turned down calls for peace, being true to Armenia's belligerent nature.
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