2020 October 31
- 1 Daily news and anti-corruption report
- 2 article by German "Spiegel" // another Syrian jihadist reveals new details about recruitment & battlefield
- 3 repatriated Armenian POW tells the story / Azeris forced her to read text in front of camera and blame Pashinyan / murder of other POWs
- 4 another war crime confirmed / POWs executed
- 5 re: Azerbaijan uses white phosphorus bomb in area that shelters civilians
- 6 Pashinyan appoints seven deputy-governors
- 7 few things from yesterday
- 8 October 31 // battlefield & analysis // diplomacy & foreign response
- 9 How to donate to Artsakh
- 10 Support David's Daily Armenia News Summaries!
Daily news and anti-corruption report
Oct/31/2020 wrap-up: \\ War in Artsakh (Karabakh) \\ German media learns details about jihadists \\ Azerbaijan's latest war crimes: POW execution, phosphorus weapon, civilians targeted \\ survivor POW's story \\ battlefield & analysis \\ international response & diplomacy \\ humanitarian aid
3992 words. 16-minute read.
article by German "Spiegel" // another Syrian jihadist reveals new details about recruitment & battlefield
For weeks, Turkey has been sending Syrian mercenaries to the Caucasus to materialize Erdogan's expansionist vision. Many of them have died.
Mercenary Tariq has returned alive. It's a rare occurrence. In reality, only the dead return quickly. The rest are supposed to stay there for months. So how did Tariq manage to return so early? It's a dramatic story about Turkey's expansionist policies and its failures.
Tariq's story begins well before the Karabakh war. In mid-August, rumors began circulating in Idlib and north of Aleppo that Turkey is looking for mercenaries not only for Libya but also for Karabakh. They were told that they would guard Turkish military objects for $2,000/mo, which was a suspiciously big sum for such a job.
"No one believed the rumors about guarding a base, but no one cared because winter is coming and we had no money," said 21-year-old Tariq.
Turkey relied on its loyal Sultan Murad and Hamza groups to do the recruitment. On September 22nd, in the village Basuta, about 700 men gathered in Hamza's military base for identity and health checkups. 500 were recruited, including Tariq and his friend Muhammed al Shalani.
Shalani has a lengthy experience and was chosen to lead the group that Tariq was a member of. The salary was $1,500 plus free medical care, a $60,000 gift to the family in the event of death, and Turkish citizenship. The contract wasn't written on paper but everyone relied on the fact that in the event of betrayal "the word would spread."
Not many Syrians know what Karabakh is and that they are the latest victims of Joseph Stalin's policies. It was Stalin who gave Armenian-populated Karabakh to Azerbaijan. Armenians took advantage of the fall of the USSR and took control of Karabakh.
Upon finishing the recruitment in Basuta village, the militants were given blue shirts. The phones and passports were taken away. The next day they traveled to Gaziantep, Turkey. 300 of them then fly to Baku through Ankara.
In Azerbaijan, the military trucks took them near the border with Iran. They were given Russian weapons. Many mercenaries didn't know what would come next. "Then at night they ordered us to prepare to attack the Armenians," said Tariq.
One translator was assigned to each group of 15 Syrians. No one came and said anything about guarding Turkish bases. At 3 o'clock they heard the sound of a vehicle column and the transfer of the Azeri troops to front lines. "We didn't even know the road to the front line," said Tariq, "the battles began before we even got there."
The car that was accompanying Tariq's truck received a direct hit. "We stopped. Part of the Azeri troops were killed, and the rest had fled, while we didn't know where to escape. The jets were flying and bombs were exploding near us. We crawled to a hiding spot and waited."
In the morning they were evacuated back to the base. None of the Syrian militants died in that incident. Shalani, the leader of the group, met a Hamza commander and complained that they were taken to an unfamiliar place and used as cannon fodder. The Hamza commander, Said Abu Bakr, became upset and responded, "You came here to fight. You have no choice."
They got lucky again the following night. Their column was sent to the front lines again, and again, they were targeted by Armenian snipers and artillery. They couldn't advance a single meter. They couldn't evacuate the dead bodies, either.
Group leader Shalani went to Hamza commander Abu Bakr again with a complaint. The commander took out his pistol and put it on Shalani's head, "I will kill you right now if you retreat. You all either fight or I shoot you."
Hamza commander Saif Abu Bakr, whose real name is Saif Balud, has been a militant since 2012. He joined ISIS in 2013 but later fled to Turkey and began working with the United States against ISIS, before joining various groups.
In Karabakh, things don't go smoothly between Bakr (big commander) and Shalani (group leader). He isolated Shalani but other militants began to revolt. Eventually, the Turkish soldiers intervened and allowed militants to make phone calls and promised them that reinforcements would arrive soon.
Shalani died on September 29th. This resulted in Shalani's family members making death threats against Hamza commanders based in Syria. [we've already seen the car bombing weeks ago]. "Either return our sons alive or we will kill you," chanted the family members.
A Turkish commander met Tariq and other militants and told them to continue to fight if they want to get paid. Tariq and few others rejected the money and returned to Syria on October 12th. Some of them were later arrested by Turkish special forces for being disloyal.
3,000 - 4,000 Syrian militants fight in Karabakh according to Tariq. The desperate Syrian families continue to receive the coffins and bury them fast and silently, as instructed by Turkey.
repatriated Armenian POW tells the story / Azeris forced her to read text in front of camera and blame Pashinyan / murder of other POWs
An elderly Armenian POW woman was returned on Wednesday after Russia and the Red Cross negotiated with Azerbaijan. She was taken hostage in the southern town of Hadrut by the infiltrators who took her to Baku.
She was questioned at a police station. A policeman threw a sugar cube in front of her when he asked for food; she rejected it, telling them "I'm not a dog".
She was then taken to the second police station where they forced her to claim Prime Minister Pashinyan was "bad" and the war broke out because of him. "They told me to say Hadrut is an Azerbaijani land in front of the camera. But I told them it's Armenian."
They took her to the third police station where she met two Armenian men. The young one was tied and blindfolded. The policemen were routinely kicking him. The elderly POW had a broken arm. He was sitting silently.
She spent one day in each police station. On the last day, she witnessed how the young POW was dragged to a truck while inside a bag. She was later told both POW men were killed.
She was taken to a hospital in Baku where she spent 10 days. The Red Cross visited her multiple times and eventually took her to Georgia then Armenia on October 28th.
another war crime confirmed / POWs executed
Artsakh Ombudsman has confirmed the authenticity of the images depicting another war crime by Azerbaijan. Four Armenian POW soldiers were executed while having their hands tied in their backs.
re: Azerbaijan uses white phosphorus bomb in area that shelters civilians
Yesterday a video was shared
about Azeris dropped a white phosphorus bomb above a forest area. The Human Rights Ombudsman has found the following:
The bomb contained phosphorus which is a chemical. It was dropped in forests near a village. Many civilians of the village spend their time in this forest to stay away from the village because Azeris often bomb the village. The Ombudsman has concluded that Azerbaijan used that bomb against those civilians, which is against international law.
MFA Mnatsakanyan: This time Azerbaijan used phosphorus munitions in Artsakh over forests close to residential areas with many civilians. What Azerbaijan is doing: total disrespect of its commitments, continued aggression, devastation of civilian population & use of banned weapons.
Pashinyan appoints seven deputy-governors
… and all of them have a military background with some of them being Generals and Colonels. A few days ago the government approved a law to create a new - better organized - volunteer army "ashkharazor" which will be formed by local provincial authorities and report to the MoD. The deputy-governors will be in charge of the organization within their provinces.
few things from yesterday
Armenian volunteers began sewing anti-drone clothing that conceals them from the drone's camera. They need diaspora's financial help to prepare as many as possible. It also keeps the soldiers warm. Details in the video:
Armenians held a demonstration in France despite the threats by Turkish ultra-nationalist groups the day earlier:
A group of Armenian show-business members in the United States gathered $59,000 in donations for www.ArmeniaFund.org
Armenians held a car-caravan demonstration in Stockholm:
The latest 29-ton humanitarian load has arrived from France.
Men who weren't accepted to the army due to age have joined women in the efforts to sew sleeping bags and clothes for soldiers:
Stepanakert bakers working around the clock to supply food for soldiers and residents:
One of the Azeri drones shot by the Armenian defense army above Karabulha village was an Israeli-made "Hermes":
Unofficial/unverified sources say Azeri Lt. Colonels Sadigov Rashad Khanlar, Hajiyev Abakar Mehemmed, and Vidadi Khelilov were killed.
October 31 // battlefield & analysis // diplomacy & foreign response
The New Jersey Senate has introduced a resolution to discuss the official recognition of Artsakh as an independent state.
00:21: the Foreign Minister of AM and AZ have finished the 6-hour negotiations in Geneva. They agreed that non-military objects and civilians should not be targeted. Both sides will allow third-party to come and collect the deceased bodies from the battlefield
7:08 WarGonzo reporter Semyon Pegov: capital Stepanakert is being bombed again. So much for not targeting civilians.
8:19: WarGonzo shared a video of what appears to be another use of white phosphorus bomb by Azerbaijan near Artsakh's Martakert city. He says 15 days ago Azerbaijan used the same type of bomb which caused the death of an Armenian soldier from Hrazdan.
9:36 army: we continued to monitor the enemy's movements and reinforcement activities at night. A truck full of ammo was blown up.
Army successfully defended in north-east, south, and south-west. We shot 1 tank, 1 armored vehicle, and 5 drones.
Azeris used white phosphorus weapons banned under the Geneva Convention. The situation on the battlefield is under our control.
9:45 Artsakh govt: Azeris targeted capital Stepanakert's bazaar market at 7:08 am despite the agreement not to target civilians. One building was destroyed, causing large financial losses to the civilian population.
Another bomb fell on a house and destroyed everything. Nearby apartments were partly damaged.
The market after the bombing: https://youtu.be/hxjxOWkdG3k?t=5
WarGonzo shows the damages market: https://t.me/wargonzo/3901
WarGonzo interviews locals after the bombing: https://t.me/wargonzo/3899
Photos of the war crime: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1033403.html
10:02: Pashinyan wrote a letter to Vladimir Putin, in which he informed about the presence of the Syrian jihadists and the several attacks by the Turkish-Azeri army against the Republic of Armenia territories. He requested Russia to begin consultations about providing aid based on the 1997 Armenia-Russia military cooperation agreement (not the CSTO).
Russia responded saying they'll help if the clashes transfer to the Republic of Armenia territory.
Armenian ambassador said the letter wasn't about the CSTO military bloc but rather the AM-RU direct military cooperation agreement. He noted that some of the attacks were within the Republic of Armenia territory which might warrant the use of the agreement.
Ex-president Levon: Russia's response is simple: "we will protect Armenia but we won't solve the Karabakh conflict."
QP MP Rubinyan: this letter should be viewed as a beginning of an important process.
https://t.me/infocomm/25000 , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1033415.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1033423.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1033433.html , http://www.ilur.am/news/view/85732.html , https://news.am/arm/news/610792.html
10:34: Human rights Ombudsmen of Armenia and Artsakh have invited all international organization representatives to visit Artsakh and see the outcome of war crimes for themselves. Ombudsman promised to personally accompany the visitors and take steps towards safety.
10:36: French-Armenian public figures have called for French MFA to more openly condemn the aggression against Artsakh and to act against Erdogan's provocations against Artsakh and the world.
10:47: Azerbaijan bombed Sushi. Several civilians were wounded.
10:59: a few days ago Armenians retook a hill in the southern front and captured an Azeri position. They found documents belonging to the Azeri group. 10 out of 12 members were killed. They were all mobilized in late July.
11:30: flight radars show that Azerbaijan continues to accept flights from Afghanistan with the use of jets commonly linked to arm/jihadist transfers.
13:08 update: Earlier we learned from WarGonzo that a Russian political-military group UDV (Union of Donbas Volunteers) held a political meeting during which one of the topics was the Artsakh conflict. The group has decided that, for now, the volunteers shouldn't visit Artsakh to provide aid.
13:09 army spokesman Artsarun: [Aliyev aide] Hikmet Hajiyev is now a professional linguist who understands Syrian accents [it's about the recently captured Syrian jihadist hired by Azerbaijan; Azeris claims he is Armenian]. Let Hajiyev not worry too much about his terrorist. He will witness serious quantitative and qualitative surprises.
13:21 the National Interest article: Kosovo is an example of why the world should not stand idle while crimes against humanities are committed. Kosovo is a precedence, and Donald Trump mentioned it during his rally speech while talking about the Karabakh conflict.
Per international law, territorial integrity can have exceptions if there is ethnic conflict.
14:15 Pashinyan: Despite agreement reached not to target civilians & civilian infrastructure, since early morning Azerbaijan resumed bombing of Shushi & Stepanakert. Azerbaijan leadership is not capable to fulfill its own commitments and Artsakh civilian population is its main enemy & target.
14:42 MoD spokeswoman Shushan: The Artsakh Army earlier presented undeniable facts of the use of phosphorous weapons containing elements of chemical weapon by Azerbaijan, after which the Azeri officials began circulating funny and primitive excuses in an attempt to get out of it clean. [Aliyev's aide Hikmet accused Armenians of using it]
14:53: throughout the day, Azerbaijan targeted the civilian population of Stepanakert, Martuni, Martakert, and Shushi. One woman was killed in the village Herher. WarGonzo reporter over 40 artillery strikes on Martuni today.
As of right now, the civilian death toll is 44 with 141 wounded.
15:20 Netherlands MP Joel Voordewind: Where are the strong EU actions against Azerbaijan and Turkey now? Why not impose targeted sanctions or create a no-fly zone over Nagorno-Karabakh now? How many more victims should there be for something to be done?
15:33: Azeri media spread fake news by presenting a WW2 cemetery in Russia as a burial site in Stepanakert.
15:51: WarGonzo went near the scene where Azeris dropped the white phosphorus bomb last night. "Azerbaijan is using the same tactics used by terrorists in northern Syria. They are burning down forests. In Syria it was coordinated by the Turkish army, now it's being done here. This is a chemical weapon."
16:29 Pashinyan to Al Arabiya outlet: Karabakh under Azeri control means Karabakh without Armenians. It's a genocide. Turkey and Azerbaijan also use Syrian mercenaries and terrorists. This is all part of Turkey's wider plans to "bring back" the Ottoman Empire. Artsakh will fight until the end.
17:00: BUZZFEED: Top-5 լափառռոշ and pure chad moments in Artsakh army:
17:53: Aliyev gave an interview to the German ARD outlet. The latter confronted him over the evidence of the use of cluster bombs against Artsakh's civilian population, and Israeli LAR-160 missile strikes against civilian settlements. Throughout the interview, Aliyev accused Armenia of violating the ceasefire and being the aggressor.
When confronted about the targeting of Shushi's church [which was bombed with precision missiles twice], Aliyev said either their artillery "missed" the real target or Armenians themselves bombed it.
18:00: Over a dozen soldiers received a Medal of Courage.
Colonel Ararat Balayan: Medal of Courage for organizing air defense and destroying enemy flying objects.
Lt. Colonel Vahram Baghdasaryan: Medal of Courage for extraordinary selfless courage during a defense.
Four soldiers for liberating a hill, destroying 2 tanks, capturing a vehicle full of night-vision tech and driving it back to an Armenian base.
18:27: Armenian hacking team "Monte Melkonyan" allegedly broke into the Azerbaijani government email servers and dumped some classified documents.
19:10 Zinuzh report: the Azeri misinformation and propaganda has reached the level of childishness. On October 27th, Baku published drone footage claiming to show the killing of MoD Jalal Harutyunyan.
Unsurprisingly they made another ridiculous statement a few days later: Baku issued a warrant for the arrest of Jalal Harutyunyan and president Arayik. Either Baku is chasing Jalal's ghost or they're contradicting their own statement of his death.
19:30 army: Azerbaijan has so far lost 6947 soldiers, 6 TOS, 656 tanks and armored vehicles, 25 aircrafts, 16 helicopters, 239 drones.
20:05: Armenian Soccer Federation has contacted UEFA and FIFA with a call to expel Azeri club "Garabag FC" after the club's PR manager Nurlan Ibrahimov called for a genocide against Armenians.
20:32 army spokesman Artsrun: definitely #WeWillWin..
20:39: a wounded soldier singing "Hayer Miatseq" in the hospital:
20:49: yesterday we learned that Azeris opened fire at Davit Bek settlement, which is within the Republic of Armenia, near Artsakh's southern areas. Video shows the aftermath: https://youtu.be/ZODjFiWepL4
20:57: Azeri demonstrators gathered in front of the Iranian embassy in Baku and chanted "Iranians, Armenians, and Russians are our enemies!"
21:20: the army shot an Azeri drone flying above the capital Stepanakert.
22:00 army spokesman Artsrun's briefing: throughout the day, Azeris and terrorists attacked in all directions. The intensity was low but in some local fights, it was heavy. Specifically, in the center, they threw a large number of forces and armory on 1-2 positions and managed to have some positional success.
However, during the localized battles in the south and south-east, our soldiers were able to recapture some positions and advance.
Q: there are rumors that Turkey and Azerbaijan plan to launch a very large operation [around November 3rd] to deal heavy blows with many weapons simultaneously.
A: I don't know what the "heavy blow operation" is but Turkey and Azerbaijan cooperate every day and we see that in the front lines.
[Talks about how Azerbaijan bombed the civilian cities throughout the day by using precision missiles, and why it's important to install ceasefire monitoring mechanisms.]
22:23 Qashatagh defense forces: today Azeris tried to advance towards Lachin in 3 directions but received artillery and other strikes and retreated, leaving behind 50-100 bodies. Our positions were strengthened on the left flank. Azeris used artillery against our positions. We silenced them.
Near the Togh village, we hit a large group that was preparing to attack. One Azeri firing position, which was being used to shoot at civilian settlements, was suppressed.
https://www.lragir.am/2020/10/31/595017/ Humanitadian aid // demonstrations // events
9:31: where there is Odysseus there is Penelope. Women continue to sew military camo-nets used to conceal armory, while they wait for their husband's return.
10:10: the Golden Apricot film festival will have a special event dedicated to Artsakh on November 1st. It will present the movie Երբ որ քամին հանդարտվի (producer Nora Martirosyan) which is featured in the Cannes Film Festival. The movie is about Artsakh.
Four other movies will be presented until November 5th.
All the revenues will be donated to Himnadram.org while two banks will match the donations to double it.
10:24: the UK will donate £1million to help civilians who suffered due to the Artsakh conflict. Food, medicine, etc.
10:25: the EU will donate another 400,000 Euros to Artsakh and surrounding areas as humanitarian aid.
12:26: Russian pianist Vladimir Spivakov's daughter, actress Tatiana Spivakova, made a short film about Artsakh about her recent trip there.
12:30: Avet and Anna were supposed to marry on September 27th but the war delayed their plans. They got married today in the Noravank church.
14:04: Artsakhtsi soldier went from the front line to Yerevan to meet his newborn daughter for the first time:
14:28: "Hog Tar" humanitarian project keeps recruiting new volunteers. They're collecting aid for Artsakh residents around the clock. Boxes are filled with basic necessities. Artsakh govt helps to coordinate the aid to the most urgent areas.
16:02 Italian luxury item designer Roberto Cavalli: I love Armenia. One of my best friends Charles Aznavour was born in Armenia. I've never been to Armenia but it's my dream to go there.
Rapper Super Sako: I'm inviting you to Armenia.
Roberto: I'll come. I'll come. I promise you.
Super Sako rapper: Cavalli is coming to Armenia!
16:58: a group of Armenians in Los Angeles are holding a weeklong hunger strike demonstration with demands to end arms supplies to Azerbaijan and Turkey, and to officially recognize Artsakh as a Republic.
18:14: Armenian-American actor and professional dancer Paul Karmiryan has raised awareness of the conflict and the war crimes against Artsakh civilians.
18:28 Roma's soccer midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan on Facebook: "In light of the increased escalation of the conflict, as well as the continued targeting of innocent Armenian civilians and threat to their physical annihilation, we call on the international community to recognize the independence of the Republic of Artsakh and its right for self-determination"
"Recognize me? Recognize Artsakh."
18:32: the Education Ministry is negotiating with telecom carriers to provide free internet for Artsakh refugee kids in the event they need it for remote education during COVID.
18:57: Armenians held a demonstration in front of the British Petroleum office in London and called for the termination of business contracts with Azerbaijan. "Stop financing terrorism. Stop financing the war. Shame on BP."
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1033455.html other regional news
10:40: 50 young Turkish men rushed into the St Anthony of Padua Church in the Austrian capital of Vienna and staged a rampage while chanting religious slogans, Austrian media reported. 10 of them have been identified. They were already under police radar. It comes days after Turkey's president Erdogan incited the mob; today he claimed any attack against him is an attack against Islam.
11:22: 25 dead and 410 injured after yesterday's earthquake in Turkey's Izmir province. There were 410 aftershocks, 33 of which were 4.0 or higher, with one being 5.0.
Nearby Greek island Samos has declared a 6-month emergency state after 2 died and 19 were injured.
12:02: 56% of Georgian voters participated in the Parliamentary elections. The Prime Minister said, "there won't be a return to the past." (referring to the possible return of Mikhail Saakashvili, a pro-Azeri ex-president of Georiga whose party is trying to unseat the government). The results will be available tomorrow.
20:01: Pope Francis has declared priests Thomas Saleh and Leonard Melkin as martyrs. They were tortured and killed by Turkish troops during the Armenian Genocide, 22km from Beirut in the town of Baabdat.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1033459.html COVID stats
+4,991 tested. +2,381 infected. +1,001 healed. +41 deaths. 32,788 active.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1033411.html infrastructure upgrades
Ayrk, Gegarquniq will have a new 8km drinking water network soon.
CHkalovka's three main roads and public square are being renovated.
Nerqin Getashen will have new roads and an irrigation network.
How to donate to Artsakh
www.1000plus.am (international, medical help for former soldiers)
www.HimnaDram.org (international, for Artsakh)
www.ArmeniaFund.org (U.S. tax-deductible, for Artsakh)
Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/jlou7z/oct312020_wrapup_war_in_artsakh_karabakh_german/
Disclaimer: All the accused are innocent until proven guilty by the court of law, even if they may sound as being guilty. Currency in Armenian Drams ֏ unless specified otherwise. Helpful overview of Armenia's media ownership and leanings.
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