Armenia and Azerbaijan are post-Soviet republics in South Caucasus, with a profoundly complicated relationship. The world welcomed the ceasefire statement on November 9, 2020, as the first step to peace. However, only two years later, on November 30, 2022, the National Assembly of France adopted a Resolution to demand an end to Azerbaijan's aggression against Armenia and establish lasting peace in the South Caucasus.
Armenia made it clear that it wants peace. However, if you look at how Azerbaijani soldiers raped and tortured to death an Armenian female soldier, executed an unarmed Armenian Prisoner of War in September 2022, or committed similar, even worse war crimes during 44 days of the war in 2020, it will clear that what Azerbaijan wants is far away from the peace.
Azerbaijan made it clear that it wants the entire Artsakh and Armenia. Since 2021, it has started to prove it by openly violating Armenia's sovereign territory and ceasefire in Artsakh.
On May 12, 2021, Azerbaijani soldiers crossed several kilometers into Armenia in the provinces of Syunik and Gegharkunik; European Parliament, the United States, and France called Azerbaijan to withdraw its troops from the internationally recognized territory of Armenia. On May 15, Armenia's Defense Ministry stated that the situation remained unresolved. Even though the Azerbaijani military had to leave some areas as a result of Armenian units' actions, some of them are still on the territory of Armenia.
On May 20, 2021, a group of Azerbaijani servicemen crossed the border near the Goris region of Armenia, walking 1.5 km into Armenian territory. However, they were forced back to their original positions by Armenian forces. Still, they then made a second attempt to cross the border in the evening, resulting in a fight between Armenian and Azerbaijani service members. On May 27, 2021, tensions rose further after the capture of six Armenian soldiers by Azerbaijani forces in the sovereign territory of Armenia.
Azerbaijan started shelling Yeraskh village in Armenia, using mortars and grenade launchers, with an Armenian soldier getting killed and the community leader of Yeraskh getting wounded.
On July 23, 2021, Azerbaijani forces opened fire on Armenian positions in the Gegharkunik section. On July 28, 2021, the Human Rights Defender of Armenia reported intensive firing from the Azerbaijani side by targeting civilian buildings in the villages of Verin Shorzha and Saradeghy in the Gegharkunik Province of Armenia.
On July 29 and July 31, Azerbaijan again violated the ceasefire.
On August 13, 2021, Azerbaijani units opened fire from various caliber firearms at the Armenian positions in the Gegharkunik province of Armenia.
On August 16, 2021, two further Armenian soldiers were killed by Azerbaijani forces in the Ararat Province of Armenia.
On August 17, 2021, an Armenian soldier was wounded due to a shelling attack from Azerbaijan.
On August 27, 2021, Azerbaijani armed forces intensively fired the village of Kut in Gegharkunik Province of Armenia, by directly targeting the civilian population.
On September 1, 2021, an Armenian soldier was killed by Azerbaijani forces in the Ararat Province of Armenia.
On October 9, 2021, an Armenian serviceman was injured by a shot from the border with Azerbaijan.
On 15 and 16 October 2021, Azerbaijani forces shelled the village of Yeraskh, causing fires that damaged crops.
On November 16, 2021, Azerbaijan again violated the ceasefire which caused the death of six Armenian soldiers, while 32 Armenian soldiers were captured. On November 16, the Prime Minister of Armenia announced that Azerbaijani forces occupied about 41 square kilometers of Armenia.
On November 22, 2021, an Armenian soldier was killed by Azerbaijani forces in the Gegharkunik province of Armenia.
On December 10, an Armenian soldier was killed as Azerbaijani forces attacked the Gegharkunik Province of Armenia.
On January 11, Azerbaijan starts shelling the Verin Shorzha area of Armenia's Gegharkunik province, causing the death of three Armenian soldiers.
On September 13, 2022, Azerbaijan launched a war on Armenia by attacking Armenian cities: Vardenis, Goris, Sotk, and Jermuk with artillery and heavy weapons. As a result, at least 105 Armenian soldiers and 71 Azerbaijani military personnel were killed.
On September 14, 2022, the Armenian Ministry of Defense stated that Azerbaijan used artillery, mortar, attack drones, and small arms to attack the Armenia-Azerbaijan border. On September 15, 2022, at 12:20 a.m., the Secretary of the Security Council of Armenia announced a ceasefire agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
On 21 September the Azerbaijani Armed Forces fired mortars and large-caliber firearms at Armenian positions in the eastern part of the border and as a result, wounded one Armenian soldier.
On 22 September the Armenian civilian, wounded during the first days of the Azerbaijani attacks, died in the hospital.
Due to constant violation of the ceasefire by Azerbaijan, the US embassy, the Dutch embassy, and the French embassy issued high-risk security alerts, prohibiting non-essential travel to several regions of Armenia bordering Azerbaijan.
Furthermore, the US Embassy reiterated its calls in Azerbaijan “to return troops to their initial positions” and to maintain the ceasefire.
On 23 September, Azerbaijani armed forces attempted to infiltrate the Armenian combat positions located in the eastern direction of the Armenian border without success.
On 29 September, Azerbaijani forces used mortars and weapons of large caliber, shelling the eastern part of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border; as a result, 3 Armenian soldiers died.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia of Armenia stated that Azerbaijan shows "clear disrespect towards the calls of the international community and the member states of the UN Security Council to maintain the ceasefire," and the Prime Minister of Armenia called for "deployment of an international observer mission on the Armenia-Azerbaijan border".
Meanwhile, the situation in Artsakh is also far away from peace,
On October 11, 2021, an Armenian civilian was shot dead by Azerbaijani snipers in the town of Martakert.
On November 8, 2021, one Armenian civilian was killed and three wounded as Azerbaijani troops opened fire at Armenians repairing a water supply pipe in Artsakh. The U.S. Department of State Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs condemned the killing of an Armenian civilian.
In December 2021, a 65-year-old civilian was captured and killed by the Azerbaijani military.
On March 24, 2022, Azerbaijani soldiers crossed the Line of Contact and took control of the village of Farukh, with women and children being evacuated from the nearby village of Khramort.
On March 30, 2022, Artsakh authorities stated that Azerbaijani forces were occupying the strategically important Karaglukh heights.
On August 1, 2022, the Artsakh Defense Army reported that Azerbaijan attempted to breach the line of contact in northern Artsakh, wounding one soldier.
Over the next two days, clashes erupted again, killing two Artsakh Defense Army soldiers and wounding 14 others. On August 26, the Azerbaijani armed forces took complete control of the “Lachin Corridor,” including Berdzor and the villages of Aghavno and Sus, causing the displacement of thousands of Armenian civilians.
If you are still confused by this very tragic situation, look at the map, and you will get the answer to why Azerbaijan keeps attacking Armenia. Armenia is between Azerbaijan and its strategic partner Turkey, and Armenia’s existence hinders Turkish President Erdogan's plan to create the “Great Turan.”
In case you do not know, like Azerbaijan, Turkey is not a big fan of Armenia; back in 1915 Ottoman Empire, an ancestor of modern Turkey, committed the Armenian Genocide by massacring over 1.5 million Armenians, and today Turkish politics keep openly threatening Armenia with a new Genocide.
Civilian infrastructures of Armenian city Jermuk after Azerbaijani Aggression in September 2022. Jermuk is 106 km far away from the capital of Armenia: Yerevan.
Photos by Emile Ghessen
Political researcher, with a focus on Eastern Partnerships, Russia, the EU, and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Ph.D. student in Political Science; Advanced Master of Arts in European Interdisciplinary Studies and a Master in International Relations.