2020 October 30

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Daily news and anti-corruption report

Oct/30/2020 wrap-up: \\ War in Artsakh (Karabakh) \\ Syrian jihadist captured alive \\ Azerbaijan uses phosphorus weapon \\ battlefield & analysis \\ successes in two fronts \\ diplomacy & world response \\ diaspora donates & demonstrates \\ Artsakh recognition \\ economy & COVID \\ other news...
by ar_david_hh

3272 words. 13-minute read.

army captured a Syrian jihadist hired by Azerbaijan

His name is Mehred Muhammad Alshkher. Born in Hama, Syria. Married and has three children.

He says Turkey recruited him and 250 other militants on October 19th. They underwent training by Turkish commanders. They were promised $2,000 but he never got paid.

He says Azeris told his group to go first, followed by 2-3 lines of Azeri troops behind them. His comrades left him to die after he was wounded.

ANNA military correspondent has identified his dialect as being from Idlib, Hama, North Latakia area, which has a significant Turkoman population.

Video of the militant (translated): https://twitter.com/KarabakhRecords/status/1322190755964817408?s=20

Armenian language: https://youtu.be/W7OxIlHAe0w




"Second Turkish-backed armed opposition group leader killed in Karabakh"

Abo Hussein (Kaljabrin town), a commander of the Turkish-backed Syria-based Hamza Group, was killed in Artsakh on Wednesday.

"Adel Shahir, the commander in chief of the central forces in the Hamza group, died a few days ago along with four other militants during the ongoing battles Nagorno-Karabakh."


Associated Press: "Azerbaijan hits maternity hospital in conflict with Armenia"

From October 29: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2020/10/29/azerbaijan-hits-hospital-dispute-armenia-over-nagorno-karabakh/6073536002/

two random combat videos

Video of Armenian soldiers using a guided anti-tank missile against an armored vehicle.


Video of Armenian soldiers defending their position, possibly in the north. Date unclear.


October 30 events // battlefield & footage // international response & diplomacy // demonstrations & donations

22:18 Russian WarGonzo reporter: according to sources close to UDV [aka Union of Donbas Volunteers… a Russian political organization consisted of ex-volunteers who fought for the independence of Donbas from Ukraine], there will be a meeting on October 31st during which UDV might discuss providing aid to Artsakh.

The meeting will be chaired by Putin's ex-aide Vladimir Surkov and the UDV leader Alexander Boroday. Ex-Putin aide Surkov might return to politics after the creation of a new political party.

8:16 WarGonzo continues: UDV has signed an agreement with Russia's [nationalist] Rodina political party to form a new political coalition, possibly for the upcoming Parliamentary elections. Putin's ex-aide Surkov is returning to politics as part of the coalition.

During the October 31st meeting, UDV will also discuss the Artsakh conflict and the possibility to send aid to Armenians. There will also be a "big announcement".

https://t.me/wargonzo/3884 , https://t.me/wargonzo/3891

00:27: Trump's security adviser Robert O'Brien called Pashinyan to discuss a ceasefire.


00:34: Russian WarGonzo reporter Pegov has returned to Stepanakert, Artsakh. He shared a video where you can hear artillery, missiles, and air defense in action.

Others reported that Azeri drone might have bombed a weapons storage which caused a chain-explosion.

Artsakh govt: the loud explosion you're hearing is coming from the explosion of ammo stash belonging to infiltrators. The storage was found and destroyed with precision strikes. Their losses are significant. The operation to destroy infiltrators continues.

https://t.me/wargonzo/3888 , https://t.me/wargonzo/3889 , https://t.me/ArmenianVendetta/6381 , https://t.me/anna_news/9210 , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1033250.html , https://factor.am/302502.html

6:10 MMA spoiler alert: Gerard Mousasi (Armenian) MMA fighter won the Bellator fight and dedicated the victory to Armenia while wearing the tri-color. "Հայաստան սիրում եմ ձեզ, ախպերներ, քուրիկներ։"

Video: https://mobile.twitter.com/BellatorMMA/status/1321997796535357442

Victory: https://twitter.com/CBSSportsNet/status/1321996863726374912

7:30: Germany has donated 2m Euros to the Red Cross for humanitarian help in Artsakh. It'll go towards solving food shortages during the upcoming winter.


8:06: Armenians held a demonstration in Hawthorne, California in front of the SpaceX headquarters. They called for Elon Musk to end the contract with Turkey and not send the latter's satellite to space.

Earlier they organized a mass email campaign that caught the attention of TechCrunch.



9:37 army: at night we identified the enemy locations and destroyed large quantities of weapons and manpower.

The enemy launched an attack after midnight in south-west and north, but was repelled after sustaining heavy losses on both locations. The search and destruction operation continues.

Video of Armenian soldiers watching the explosion of the ammunition storage: https://twitter.com/301_AD/status/1322106644872990723?s=20

Video showing the explosions in Azeri weapons storage: https://youtu.be/g4zbM_7_A4o



9:56: today is the Emergency Worker's Day in Artsakh. President Arayik awarded medals to a group of rescuers. "The homeland appreciates the selfless service and professional work of its devoted children."


10:47: an 84-year-old Armenian POW Misha Melkumyan has died in Azerbaijan. Medics weren't able to transport him to Armenia yesterday due to his unstable condition. Armenia's Human Rights Ombudsman accused Azerbaijan of the mistreatment of POWs, which led to Misha's death.


10:50: Armenian Assembly of America has collected $2.1m in donations as part of a "two million" campaign for HimnaDram.


11:05 army spokesman: early in the morning Azeris launched an attack in the north but left dozens of dead bodies and retreated.

The intense battles continue in the south.


11:16: Pashinyan gave an interview to The Telegraph. Said Europe should take steps to stop Turkey... Azerbaijan and Turkey had planned to invade Artsakh within a week... Russian peacekeepers are acceptable but Azerbaijan rejects them.

Full: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1033324.html


12:04: the RockForArtsakh concert, organized by ONEArmenia yesterday that featured several famous performers, has collected $3.3m in revenues. It will be matched by the organization. $6m will be donated to ArmeniaFund.org



12:25: Kanye West made a present for Kim's 40th anniversary. It's the holographic image of Kim's late father Robert, who says "You're a proud Armenian, and I'm a proud Armenian father."

Full: https://style.news.am/arm/news/74694/du-hpart-hayuhi-es-ev-es-hpart-hay-hayr-em%E2%80%A4-qimi-qardashyanin-holografiayi-mijocov-shnorhavorel-e-hayry.html

12:47: BBC made a 10-minute documentary video featuring soldiers telling stories, and their families in bomb shelters.


12:49: Diaspora Committee chief Sinanyan held a meeting with reporters and activists. "Diaspora's mobilization is unprecedented."

Full: https://youtu.be/QDzC0zCEIH0

13:00: the government of the Netherlands has also warned its citizens about a possible terrorist attack in Baku, and to reconsider travel to Azerbaijan. The US had issued a similar warning earlier.


13:09: Syrian president Assad and the Russian airforce conducted numerous strikes in northern Syria's Hama, Homs, Al-Raqqa, and other desert areas occupied by ISIS and similar terrorist cells.

Turkish army, which supports many of these cells in northern Syria, began withdrawing its soldiers from north-west Hama, months after finding themselves surrounded by Syrian government forces.




13:10: Arts for Armenia exhibition is featuring the works of 200 artists from around the world. The revenues will be donated to www.HimnaDram.org

Over 33 book publishers will take part in the Book Market. Half of the revenue will be donated to soldiers' medical expenses at www.1000plus.am

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1033288.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1033285.html


13:19 army spokesman's interview to FactorTV: today the battles were more intense in the south (Vorotan river) than in the past few days, but it's more localized; cannot compare to the first days.

In the north, Azeris launched an artillery strike then attacked, but retreated after leaving dozens of dead bodies.

The army has cleared two villages east of Qarin Tak from Azeri infiltrators. (not far from already-mentioned Avetaranots, which is 6km from Shushi).

Our reconnaissance units had located and destroyed a large ammo depot and a base belonging to infiltrators. It was so big that the fire was visible in the capital Stepanakert. As you know, there are thick forests between Hadrut and Shushi. The infiltrators are active in these areas.

The warfare in forests is different. It's not a positional battle. You find and neutralize infiltrator groups. They often run away after being discovered. Often our reconnaissance discovers their position and passes the coordinates to artillery to conduct strikes.

For several days, Azeris tried to move from Fizuli to Martuni (east) but failed. Now they try to avoid direct confrontation and chose to send infiltration groups instead. It could be done for multiple purposes: to provide PR for Ilham Aliyev, create panic, cut supply roads, etc.

Azerbaijan's breakthrough-groups (punching fists) aren't as effective anymore after the initial days but they still have attack power; we must remain vigilant. There were three of these punching fists, with each having 10,000-20,000 soldiers and hundreds of armored vehicles. These groups failed the blitzkrieg.

Then they waged a different type of war, the one about squeezing and taking advantage of the numerical superiority. However, this squeezing tactic is also wearing out under our artillery and other bombardments.

Today they use a tactic one rank lower. They were forced to choose infiltration warfare due to their heavy losses. There aren't even many vehicles anymore and they get destroyed easily.

Shushi is a strategically important city. Not just for morale but also because it controls the road to the capital Stepanakert. Many of the infiltrators who tried to reach Shushi have been destroyed, but obviously, they will try again.

Last night we ruined the infiltrators' plans to bring reinforcements and create a bigger base for a future assault against Shushi.

There is no effective method to destroy all the drones. Even Saudi Arabia, with the most expensive defenses, sustained heavy losses in its oil sector when the drones targeted it last year. Even Israel, which has the highest density of air defense, has difficulties. The same about the United States.

We did improve the quality of our air defense recently, which led to the destruction of some Bayraktars.

We are working on our loitering drone industry but it's far behind what Azeris purchase from Israel.

If Ilham Aliyev didn't think he could capture all of Artsakh on the 32nd day of the war, he would not have started this war. Without Turkish support, their quality would have been much worse.

The most important resource in this war isn't the dollar amount, but the power of will and the nerves. We defend our homeland and existence so we improve our [aforementioned] resources with each strike, while the Azeri public will soon begin wondering about the death toll and search for answers for other questions.

https://youtu.be/hUF8PAI3GCk , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1033299.html


Some diplomacy news

10:26: Iranian delegation has visited Armenia, after making stops at Russia and Azerbaijan. Iran is attempting to find ways to establish a ceasefire. They appear to support a "regional" solution, which could include Turkey's participation. Armenia says the Minsk Group is the preferred platform of negotiations.

10:46: MFA Mnatsakanyan spoke with the MFA of Uruguay. Yesterday, four former presidents of Uruguay expressed solidarity with Armenia.

10:53 U.S. House Rep. Frank Pallone: War crimes by Azeri forces continue to mount. Azerbaijan has now shelled a maternity hospital being used to treat COVID-19 patients, a historic church, and numerous other civilian structures throughout Artsakh. The State Department must condemn these heinous acts.

15:42: Vladimir Putin and the Russian Security Council are discussing the Artsakh conflict. Security Council chief Patrushev later expressed concerns about "the activation of radical-Islamist groups in Russia".

17:08: the Foreign Minister of AM and AZ are holding a meeting in Geneva, brokered by the Minsk Group.

17:50: Pashinyan met the Iranian delegation in Yerevan.

17:55: former presidents Levon Ter-Petrosyan and Robert Kocharyan plan to visit Russia for negotiations. The government has welcomed the efforts of former officials.

Update: Kocharyan is diagnosed with COVID without symptoms. He won't travel to Russia.

https://factor.am/302396.html , https://factor.am/302407.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1033264.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1033348.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1033296.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1033339.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1033315.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1033338.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1033329.html , https://factor.am/302823.html , https://news.am/arm/news/610619.html


Back to regular programming...

14:32: Spanish city Amposta has officially recognized the Artsakh Republic.


14:44: the graduates of Yerevan State University's Oriental Studies faculty will partially subsidize the tuition of soldiers who're in the front lines or those whose parents are there.


14:59: the latest losses in the Azeri army: 60 soldiers, 17 vehicles, 6 drones.

Total of 6914 soldiers, 6 TOS, 649 tanks and armored vehicles, 25 aricrafts, 16 helicopters, 232 drones.


15:31: popular singer Arsen Safaryan is still in the front lines. He performed a guitar song

Video: https://style.news.am/arm/news/74697/paronayq-spaner-arsen-safaryani-katarumn-arcakhum-video.html

16:39: army released footage showing the destruction of a group of Azeri infiltrators at night:



16:42: the MoD released a video about a group of female volunteers training on how to avoid landmines, provide first aid, weapon handling, etc.




16:54: the German Parliament held a hot debate around the Artsakh conflict. Several MPs criticized the Turkish-Azeri aggression. Calls were made to expel Turkey from the Minsk Group. The use of Syrian jihadists was criticized. An MP suggested the creation of a fund to help rebuild Artsakh.


16:59: Artsakh president Arayik met the Belgian House Representative George Dalman and expressed gratitude for visiting.

"Unfortunately, we see that this war unleashed by the Turkish-Azerbaijani tandem in the South Caucasus, including various groups of terrorists, is already expanding towards Europe, and the recent events in French cities serve as brilliant evidence of this," said the president.

The Belgian MP described Azerbaijan's human rights violations as a threat to Europe, too.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1033326.html , https://news.am/eng/news/610665.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1033365.html

17:20: in other regional news... a 6.6 earthquake struck eastern Turkey's Izmir district and was felt in Istanbul and Greece. 12 deaths, 419 injured, 20 buildings destroyed. A tsunami was formed in Izmir. A church was partly damaged in Greece.

Tsunami in Turkey: https://twitter.com/ragipsoylu/status/1322163744621973504

Sea water recedes in Turkey: https://twitter.com/Archer83Able/status/1322157950602018817?s=20

Moments after the quake: https://youtu.be/lebnhtVbXHY

Destruction in Turkey: https://youtu.be/344e64mUscg

The moment it hit Turkey: https://www.cnn.com/europe/live-news/aegean-sea-earthquake-dle-intl/index.html

Church destroyed in Greece: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1033360.html

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1033331.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1033352.html

17:34: Azerbaijan fired a missile towards Shushi but it fell outside the city. The skies above settlements were relatively calm today.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1033335.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1033314.html

18:32: Turkish Lira hit a new record low. 8.37 per $1.


18:35: on September 29th, 8 Armenian soldiers repelled a 3-hour-long attack by 80 Azeri soldiers in the north, before the Armenian reinforcements arrived.

"That was the heaviest day of the war. The enemy began climbing to capture our position. After 3 hours of battles, they left behind the weapons/ammo and fled. Numerous bodies were left in the buffer area while 7 were killed already inside the trenches.

Interview with the soldiers: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1278176379228259


19:37 Artsakh govt: today Azeris showed some activity towards Lachin. During the battles they sustained heavy human losses and began routing, leaving behind their positions.

The operation to find and destroy infiltrator groups continues in other locations. One military vehicle was destroyed near Tsaghkaberd.

Photo: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1033354.html

19:50: Russian Parliament MP Vitali Milonov, who recently visited Artsakh and expressed solidarity, says this whole thing about Turkey using terrorists around the world "can lead to the 3rd World War which Turkey won't be able to stop".

Full interview in Russian: https://youtu.be/aHQ-EQTOaII

19:53: Ukrainian opposition MP Ilia Kiva will submit a question to the govt to explain details about a cargo flight to Baku carrying weapons.


20:47: Armenians organized a protest in front of the Turkish embassy in Brazil. A caravan of 450 vehicles jammed the roads to raise awareness last week.



20:57: Iranian outlet Mashreghnews.ir wrote an article about the deployment of Syrian jihadists near Iran's northern borders, and how "Iranian air defense prevents Israel's attempts to violate the borders disguised under [Azeri] drone flights."


21:00 Artsakh govt: one civilian was killed and six were injured in the village Aknaghbyur after Azerbaijan's indiscriminate bombing of civilian settlements.


21:34: Latvian MP has accused Azeri state-run outlet Haqqin of spreading fake news about her allegedly expressing support for Azerbaijan.


21:51: a group of Emergency Ministry workers has volunteered to join the army:


21:57: a video was published allegedly showing Azerbaijan using an illegal white phosphorus bomb to burn down the forests. Forest fires are seen. [update: white phosphorus is illegal if used against humans but it can be used to burn enemy facilities]

Video: https://twitter.com/razminfo/status/1322235948504174592?s=20


22:00 army spokesman Artsrun's briefing: early in the morning Azeris attacked in several directions. In the north, after a short artillery fire, their infantry attacked several positions but was massacred and thrown back, after leaving behind many bodies.

Battles continued near several heights in the south, north of Araks river basin. We made positional improvements but the battles continue and I can't give details.

In the center, intense battles took place near the Martuni-Chartar area. Azeris used mainly artillery and attack units (not many vehicles) to try to make a breakthrough but failed. No positional changes. Intense battles continue.

In the center-eastern area near Avetaranots village forests [6km of Shushi], several infiltrator groups and a base was destroyed. We do have significant success here but the battles against other infiltrator groups continue; they try to infiltrate from other areas.

You saw the video of a captured terrorist [Syrian militant] today. He gave details about who trained them [Turkey], how they got there, etc. These militants are being used as cannon fodder. They are used as livestock to clear the land mines. That's their fate; I want the whole world to know this.

The war isn't as fierce anymore but in specific localized battles it can be very heavy, with the use of artillery, etc. but not many vehicles.

Q: any comments on an incident in Davit Bek [settlement right at the border with the Republic of Armenia and southern Artsakh].

A: I don't have a casualty report but Azeri artillery hit this direction and caused some damage.

Q: is it true that Azeris used a phosphorus bomb?

A: we're still examining the reports of the use. Overall, the war crimes and illegal weapons used by Azerbaijan against civilians is a recorded fact, which the international community should be aware of. The Armenian population was attacked. Armenians have the right to destroy legitimate targets deep within Azerbaijan from which the aggression comes from.

Large Azeri cities have various military objects within them, including the airports used by Azeri and Turkish military aviation. Artsakh has the right to target such objects.

If Artsakh's older Soviet-made missiles miss the target and land elsewhere, there is no excuse for Azerbaijan's state-of-the-art precision missiles to target Artsakh settlements without military objects. They didn't strike Shushi church or the hospital "accidentally".



22:03: Trump's security adviser Robert O'Brian has directly accused Azerbaijan of being the one that hesitates to agree to an unconditional ceasefire.

He said work is being done to place Scandinavian peacekeepers in the region.

Neither the U.S. nor Armenia will accept Turkish peacekeepers or the meddling in the conflict zone. [isn't this kinda yuge?]




22:49: painter Nikola Aghababyan (Gelndale) has auctioned some of his pieces and donated the $33,000 revenue to HimnaDram.org


COVID stats

+4,836 tested. +2,398 infected. +28 deaths. +1,059 healed. 31458 active.


COVID vaccine

Armenian-American businessman Nubar Afeyan's "Moderna" is finalizing the 3rd stage of the COVID vaccine study. The results will be published in November.

30,000 volunteers participated in the trial of mRNA-1273 vaccine. If successful, the company will produce 20 million units this year, and 0.5-1 billion next year.


the economy is recovering post-COVID

The economic activity index rose by +10.6% in September vs August. Industrial output +3.1%. Construction +9.4%. Trade turnover +5.2%. Exports +8.7%. Imports +2.7%. The inflation was -0.2% (deflation).



The government agencies won't distribute salary bonuses this month. Additionally, the Prime Minister's office has redirected $2.2m from its budget back to the federal coffers.


Top-5 highest-grossing փաստավավերագրական books in September

5) Դենիել Գոուլմանի «Հուզական ինտելեկտը»

4) Հանձնվել չկա, by Ani Kochari.

3) Յուվալ Նոյ Հարարիի «XXI դարի 21 դասերը»

2) Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, by Յուվալ Նոյ Հարա.

1) The monk who sold his Ferrari, by Robin Sharma.


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/jl3wfl/oct302020_wrapup_war_in_artsakh_karabakh_syrian/

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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