2020 November 7

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Daily news and anti-corruption report

Nov/7/2020 wrap-up: \\ War in Artsakh (Karabakh) \\ battles near Shushi \\ Azerb & Iran exchange jabs \\ jihadist diaries \\ global movement to recognize Artsakh; 40 French MPs; cities \\ battlefield & analysis \\ diplomacy & foreign response \\ humanitarian aid & activism
by ar_david_hh

Your Saturday briefing. 13-minute read. 3180 words:

Azerbaijan snorts the cocaine it was supposed to sell // Iran's warning

On November 3rd, Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei gave a speech and indirectly criticized Azerbaijan's import of terrorists near Iranian borders "despite the denial of their presence."

The topic of terrorists is sensitive in Azerbaijan and they desperately try to spread fake news about Armenians being the ones to have imported "PKK Terrorists". This propaganda is mainly for internal Azeri public consumption and no one buys it outside of Azerbaijan. However, an Azeri Parliament MP, in response to Khamenei's speech, publicly accused Khamenei of "aiding the transit of PKK terrorists to Armenia".

This has angered Iran. There were calls to summon the Azeri ambassador to demand an explanation. Azeri presidential aide Hikmet Hajiyev is doing damage control by having all Azeri outlets remove the MP's speech critical to Khamenei.

Iranian army today: "we respect both sides of the conflict. Both countries must be very careful, as even the slightest [physical] attack on Iran will receive a decisive response. Our demand from the parties to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is not to open a place for Takfiri terrorists in the region.

Another important thing is the existence of the Zionist (Israeli) spy bases. We will not allow their existence near our borders.

These two are fundamental issues for us. Both sides need to realize this. Otherwise, the country that opens the way for the presence of Takfiri Zionist mercenaries will be responsible for the consequences."

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1034251.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1034256.html , https://t.me/infoteka24/11096


Who is Abu Hamsha? Born Muhammad al-Jasim, he is the commander in charge of coordinating the transfer of jihadists from northern Syria to Azerbaijan. He has been mentioned by both of the jihadists who were captured by Armenian troops.

He leads the pro-Turkish cell called Sultan Suleiman Shah. The Syrian government, Syrian Kurds, and even residents of some Syrian Arab cities also want to find and neutralize him.

Here he is, with Erdogan's portrait behind: https://news.am/arm/news/611937.html

jihadist gives interview / complains about harsh conditions / destination kept secret to dupe

The New Yourk Review article: a mercenary Abdel Basit tells his story from Karabakh. "They sent us straight to front lines. The situation is horrific. There are battles every day. There is no rest. Many men have gone missing and we can't find them," said Abdel.

What did convince this former rebel from Homs to fight in foreign lands? His father, who is still in Syria, had taken a large loan due to a family emergency, but his salary wasn't enough to pay it back.

Abdel is one of the hundreds of militants who were transported by Turkey to Azerbaijan to fight against Armenians in Karabakh. These impoverished Syrian men have become cannon fodder.

Four of Abdel's friends were killed in two days, immediately after landing in Azerbaijan. Another two died a week later.

Abu Hamsha [aforementioned], the commander of Sultan Suleiman Shah, had collected 150 more militants 11 days ago. However, they were deceived and told they were going to Libya. They only found out about their real destination after departing Syria. Many of them knew about the high death toll in Karabakh and didn't want to fight there.

Reuters agency covered the story of how Armenian troops captured two militants alive. They are from Idlib and Hama areas and revealed the recruitment process.

When confronted about the evidence, and statements by Russia about the presence of these jihadists in Azerbaijan, the Azeri ambassador to the UK said, "I went to school in Moscow. I know very well what propaganda is. These claims [by Russia] are just Soviet propaganda. It's being done to involve Russia in this conflict."


detailed report on how Turkey uses its airports to freely transfer terrorists


The Hydra of Terrorism

English-language report detailing Turkish-Azeri-jihadist activities.


November 7 timeline // battlefield & analysis & diplomacy

Russian ANNA reporter released a video from last evening showing the accumulation of Armenian heavy equipment and preparations for battles near Shushi.


00:21: another major PR lobbying agency, Greenberg Traurig, has dropped Turkey as a client after protests by Armenians. The decision was made on October 29th.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1034205.html , https://t.me/reartsakh/6134

00:51 Artsakh MFA: The aim of Baku's war crimes is to cause excessive losses to the Artsakh population. They violated the agreement signed in Geneva about not targeting civilians. Three civilians died yesterday during the indiscriminate bombing of Stepanakert and Shushi. This is an intentional policy.

The international community should end the aggression by recognizing Artsakh's independence.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1034206.html , https://news.am/arm/news/611932.html

1:02: yesterday we learned that Azerbaijan used a civilian flight to transport special forces from the Nakhijevan enclave to Azerbaijan. A photo was published showing the troops and a selfie with their commander.

It turns out, their commander Teheran Mensimov (in photo) was killed in Artsakh, says Diaspora Committee chief Zareh Sinanyan.

He is the same commander who led the Azeri army in Nakhijevan during the Azerbaijan-Turkey joint army training in August. He died two days after arriving in Artsakh.

Another report states the death of his associate, also special forces member, Marhamat Ahmadov.

https://www.facebook.com/zareh.sinanyan/posts/10207982888406853 , https://news.am/arm/news/611957.html , https://twitter.com/yeghig/status/1325083380032163842

8:40 WarGonzo reporter from Stepanakert: The Azeri artillery that bombed Shushi overnight is over 20km away. That's quite a distance. They weren't able to bring any heavy artillery close.


9:18 US Senator Todd Young: there is a need to end the violent aggression by Azerbaijan and Turkey in Karabakh. The fighting has gone on for too long and I am grateful to our Armenian community for their efforts to end the violence.


, https://news.am/arm/news/611954.html

8:50 (photo): the army shared a photo/video of four Armenian soldiers who shot 6 Azeri pickup trucks carrying personnel. Also an interview with others telling battle stories.



9:54 MoD: the air defense units shot down an Azeri drone at 6:45 in the eastern front.


10:09 Artsakh govt: settlements were generally relatively calm overnight. Shushi was repeatedly bombed.


10:29 army: the battles continued on all fronts overnight and in the morning. The ones near Shushi were heavy. Multiple Azeri attacks were repelled; they have large manpower losses. Our artillery stood out with high efficiency. The operative-tactical situation in all directions remains unchanged.

In south-east and south, we destroyed 4 drones and 2 vehicles transporting Azeri personnel. The battles continue.


10:33 Artsakh president's spokesman: "Azerbaijan's propaganda machine lies about Colonel-General Seyran Ohanyan being wounded because the lessons Seyran taught them were very painful. I'm sure they'll receive more lessons because Seyran is alive and carries on with his duties."

Seyran Ohanyan confirmed he wasn't wounded but he lost one of his friends (Vahe) during the battles near Shushi. "The fighting mood of all of us is very high; we are all determined to defend our homeland."

Among the recently fallen soldiers were a Russian-Armenian volunteer from "Lion's Heart" sports club, a Colonel of civilian police forces Artyom Mirzoyan, a ballet artist Tigran Harutyunyan.

https://news.am/arm/news/612031.html , https://sport.news.am/arm/news/116415/ , https://factor.am/306263.html , https://news.am/arm/news/612029.html , https://style.news.am/arm/news/74775/zohvel-e-baleti-artist-tigran-harutyunyany.html

10:39: Artsakh and Armenian Human Rights Ombudsmen prepared a joint report about the chemical, WMD, and burning bombs used by Azerbaijan in Artsakh. Some chemicals were dropped only 100 meters away from settlements, while other mass destruction bombs were used directly against civilians. The report has 18+ photos. Below is a video showing the chemical weapons.

English subtitles: https://youtu.be/n14K6zZJMQ0


11:18 (video): Armenian soldiers have a habit of planting trees in the holes left by Azeri bombs.


11:44 army: Azerbaijan has lost 7510 soldiers (+105 latest), 262 drones (+5), 749 tanks and armored vehicles (+13), 6 TOS, 25 aircrafts, 16 helicopters.


11:45: first lady Anna Hakobyan has praised women who recently joined the army. She's been training with a group of dozen women. "Armenian woman, from now on, will know how to use a weapon and join men to defend herself, her children, and her fatherland".

Someone criticized her, calling it a "PR campaign". She responded by saying "when I was preaching peace with Azerbaijan in 2019 you were calling me weak. Now you're against our effort to rally female fighters. Make up your mind."

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1034231.html , https://news.am/arm/news/611973.html

12:17: six explosions were heard in capital Stepanakert. Shushi was bombed throughout the day. Two houses caught on fire.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1034235.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1034242.html

12:57: Spanish city of Coruña has approved a resolution condemning the aggression against Artsakh, and the use of jihadists by Turkey and Azerbaijan.


13:20: the Italian city of Nogaredo has officially recognized Artsakh's independence.


13:32: president Sarkissian gave an interview to La Libre Belgique, explained the history of the conflict, "Turkey creates instability everywhere".

Full: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1034240.html

14:34 Artsakh president Arayik: Today I met the volunteer detachments of the Armenian community of Abkhazia, who are in Artsakh on the call of their homeland In general, it is encouraging that our Diaspora compatriots are joining us these days.


14:47 Artsakh Parliament: special thanks to all the international legislative bodies who have approved resolutions in support of Artsakh.


15:17 Martuni mayor: the situation remains tense. Despite the ongoing bombings, the repair crews continue to fix infrastructure. The enemy received a blow that they won't forget for a long time. Overall, Martuni's positions remain similar to that of in the 90s. Martuni and its residents stand strong and will go until the end, and the end is victory.


15:48: 40 French Parliamentarians contacted president Macron and asked him to officially recognize the Artsakh Republic instead of being neutral. "Only international recognition, as in the case of Kosovo, will allow Artsakh to move out of the zone that does not allow it to receive international, humanitarian assistance."


16:28: video showing Armenian soldiers shooting from artillery/tanks:


17:30: measures are being taken by emergency workers in Stepanakert regarding two residential buildings that became dangerous for habitation after the Azeri bombing.


17:55: Azerbaijan used GRAD and Smerch missiles against Stepanakert.


18:05 Artsakh official: my dear compatriots who're temporarily residing outside of Artsakh, everything is under control. There is no reason for panic. [there was a report that Azeris captured a hill south of Shushi].

https://news.am/arm/news/612042.html , https://factor.am/306421.html

18:31: Putin and Macron discussed Artsakh and the presence of Syrian militants.

18:54: France will send a team of surgeons and medical devices to aid Armenia.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1034270.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1034268.html

18:52 volunteer squad leader: we neutralized 20 Azeri soldiers in Berdzor (Lachin) direction, near Arpagyaduk, and captured an important height.

Photos: https://t.me/reartsakh/6173


20:02 The National Interest article: "It’s Time to Open a U.S. Consulate in Stepanakert"

Stepanakert is the capital of Nagorno-Karabakh, […] under a prolonged assault by Azeri forces, Syrian mercenaries transported into the theater by Turkey, and Turkish drones. While most of the fighting has been on the edge of the territory, Stepanakert has also come under fire. Turkish F-16s have reportedly attacked the city’s maternity hospital, and journalists reported heavy shelling on Thursday.

It may seem counterintuitive to send American diplomats to a city under siege, but opening a consulate in Stepanakert would quiet conflict and perhaps promote peace.

Full: https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/nagorno-karabakh-crisis-it%E2%80%99s-time-open-us-consulate-stepanakert-172224


20:33 Pashinyan to German Tagasschau outlet: Azerbaijan was/is not ready for mutual compromise and it was proven in 2011 in Kazan when the Armenian side had agreed to give 5 regions in exchange for status for Karabakh.

This was a big compromise by Armenians. The agreement was discussed and ready to be signed but Aliyev changed his mind at the last minute. They have always wanted a war.

Full: https://t.me/infocomm/25650 , https://t.me/infocomm/25651

20:10 army spokesman Artsrun: The heavy battles continue in Martuni direction. The army has scored successes south of Shushi. If the situation is difficult somewhere near Shushi, that does not mean that some people should make negative noise.

21:11: the heavy battles continue in the immediate vicinity of Shushi.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1034275.html , https://news.am/arm/news/612060.html , https://news.am/arm/news/612065.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1034280.html

21:41 WarnGonzo reporter: we just came from Shushi suburb. We met the artillerymen who were targeting the attackers, who didn't make it to Shushi, according to our info. There is still a group of infiltrators near the rocks of Shushi suburbs. They're blocked by Armenian special forces. The rumors about Shushi being under Azeri control is false.


Olympic Silver medalist wrestler Mihran published a video from Shushi:


22:00 army spokesman Artsrun's briefing: as I've said yesterday, the battles continue nonstop since yesterday. The enemy moved closer to Shushi and nearby roads. A retreat is sometimes necessary to keep the army's combat-readiness and secure future successes.

As I noted yesterday, we defended Shushi, but it appears the enemy continues to try to attack it by involving more forces to solve its task. At the moment, our soldiers are resisting the attacks by dealing heavy blows on Azeri flanks, rear, and communication channels. The heavy battles continue to keep Shushi standing. This is the third day of these battles.

The battles also continue near Qarin Tak (south of Shushi), Lisagor (between Lachin and Shushi), and other places. And when these heavy battles continue and our soldiers fight until the end, our duty is to believe in the Armenian soldier and trust him, and spreading any panic or rumors about things like evacuation are inappropriate.

Throughout the day there were battles in other directions. Azeris tried to attack Martuni with armored vehicles. After losing 1-2 vehicles and several soldiers, they were thrown back.

South of Berdzor the enemy tried to advance but failed after suffering losses. Our units captured a position.

There were no major battles on other fronts but limited artillery was used. The battles continue in areas near Hadrut.

Q: what's the situation in Davit Bek village in Armenia?

A: Azeris bombed it today and got bombed in return. It's normal.

https://youtu.be/zuYv7FrR4DM , https://www.facebook.com/ArmenianUnifiedInfoCenter/videos/389803228828193/?epa=SEARCH_BOX

22:03 Segodnia.ru article about drones: If in the first month of hostilities Azerbaijan made a bet on the widespread use of drones, now the situation is changing. The number of Azeri drones in the sky of Karabakh dropped sharply. There are multiple reasons.

First. The climate has changed. Low clouds and mountainous regions made the use of drones less effective. To see the target, the drone has to lower to 1km altitude and fly slower. This makes it vulnerable to several types of weapons, and even machine guns. The other day Armenians posted a video of shooting a drone with an AK-47.

Second. The Azeri drone fleet is depleting. Every time they use a suicide drone they lost one.

Third. Armenians reported downing approximately 9 Bayraktar drones. The photos don't show traces of missile impact which indicates that Armenians used a radio-interference and GPS jamming tools instead.

Turkey, however, recently announced the creation of a new generation of drone that's controlled differently; it's pre-programmed to fly a specific path without relying on GPS. It might be equipped with Israeli-made anti-radio-interference protection, too.

That would be similar to what American-made Tomahawk missiles use. The Tomahawk missiles were used against Syria in 2017, but unsuccessfully, because Russian radio-interference devices were still able to confuse the flight path and even its optical vision-based flight orientation.

It's fair to say that drone warfare has not ended in Karabakh.


22:55: father and son meet in the front lines


23:09 Pashinyan to German ARD outlet: a WW3 has started, and it's a hybrid war. It's equally aimed against Christians, Muslims, and Jews…

We receive the support that we expect from Russia. No issues with the quality of the military agreement. On the other hand, we understand that Russia, being an OSCE member, is staying neutral and preserving the good relations with Azerbaijan…

OSCE should remain the only platform for negotiations…

Full: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1034285.html

23:48: Putin and Erdogan discussed Artsakh.


donations & demonstrations

Shout out to diasporan Armenians who're trying to re-learn the alphabet:


10:03: giant billboards were installed in Los Angeles and the highway near Paterson city, urging for the official recognition of Artsakh. "Take action now before it's too late."


10:43: SOAD's Serj Tankian explains why the two recent songs

were needed:


10:45: four chess grandmasters played against 120 opponents and collected 1.1 million in donations for www.HimnaDram.org


13:25: two Moscowite Armenians began sewing sleeping bags for soldiers when the war began. Today the number of volunteers is 200. They're looking for drivers and laborers.

Video: https://youtu.be/u2Qb8_BsUjk


13:36: a pianist kid performs a song for soldiers:


14:47: Armenians living in Damascus, despite hardship, have donated $25,000 to Artsakh.


17:17: Burger King has apologized after its franchise in Azerbaijan posted pro-Azeri aggression propaganda on Instagram.


19:04: Armenians and Polkas demonstrated in Krakow, Poland with calls to officially recognize Artsakh.


20:20: The French ambassador invited a group of Artsakh refugee women for a meeting after they gathered in front of the German embassy yesterday.


21:54: boxing world champion Arthur Abraham has joined the Armenian demonstrators in Berlin

Photos: https://t.me/infoteka24/11116

regional kerfuffle & geopolitics

Russian air force carried out massive airstrikes in Jabal Zawiya, Idlib, Syria.


Russian authorities arrested an anti-Armenian activist Ramilia Saitova for making extremist comments against Armenians. She published a video calling for the destruction of Armenian crosses. Unidentified people burned a cross in Uzyan village. She was arrested the next morning.


Erdogan has fired the chief of Turkey's Central Bank Murat Uysal, amid the Turkish currency Lira's rapid devaluation. The new pawn is Naci Agbal, his former Finance Minister who earlier yielded his office to Erdogan's son-in-law Borat Albayrak.

Former Deputy PM of Turkey commented on the firing, saying "Erdogan can not escape responsibility. Let us not forget that the main reason for what happened in the economy is the presidential system of government and party administration, which excludes institutional thinking and general thinking. "

https://news.am/arm/news/611948.html , https://www.trtworld.com/turkey/turkey-dismisses-governor-of-central-bank-41241 , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1034262.html

German think tank SWP prepared a report stating that Turkey is a "dangerous ally" that keeps alienating from the West. The analysts pointed out Turkey's attempts to aid Azerbaijan with a goal to join a new type of negotiating table, just with Russia, without the Western states, a la Idlib style.

Russia finds the new format unacceptable while trying to maintain relations with Turkey and Azerbaijan.

Turkey wants to improve relations with Russia at the expense of the West. Russia has accepted Turkey's growing influence in the region at the expense of the decline of U.S. influence.


other Armenian news

COVID stats: +5,339 tested. +2,476 infected. +27 deaths. +1,476 healed. 39,055 active.


How to help Artsakh & Armenia

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/jpxop6/nov72020_wrapup_war_in_artsakh_karabakh_battles/

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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2020 Daily Armenia Reports