44 days of Azerbaijan's Patriotic War: first day, September 27, 2020
Exactly a year ago, on September 27, 2020, Azerbaijan's Patriotic War began. On that day, Armenia's occupying forces subjected the positions of the armed forces of Azerbaijan along the front line and the adjacent populated areas in Azerbaijan to intensive fire with the use of large-calibre weapons, artillery and mortars. Baku decided to launch a counter-offensive operation to ensure the safety of the civilian population. Vestnik Kavkaza offers its readers to follow the events of the 44 days of Azerbaijan's Patriotic War as they were covered a year ago.
The Patriotic War began around 5 o'clock in the morning, when Armenia began firing, at 7 o'clock in the morning the Azerbaijani army launched a counter-offensive in the occupied territories, later called "Iron Fist".
After only two hours it was reported that the Armenian Minister of Defence fled the country. Then the first photo documents were received about the casualties of the shelling of the peaceful Azerbaijani residents, as well as the Armenian Defence Ministry's first fakes were published. Soon a list of victims of the new Armenian invasion was published.
At the same time, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry called on the civilian population of the occupied regions not to approach the military facilities of the occupation forces, while separatists and illegal settlers began to evacuate from Karabakh and other regions occupied by Armenia, although Yerevan announced a general mobilization.
The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry reported Armenia's attempt to attack the Azerbaijani front-line and border settlements. The first international reactions came from Russia, which called for an end to hostilities, and Turkey, which condemned Yerevan's aggression. The CSTO proposed to settle the conflict peacefully, the OSCE Minsk Group limited itself to expressing regret for the death of the civilian population. The first expert forecasts about the prospects of the Patriotic War were voiced: the de-occupation of the occupied Azerbaijani lands is inevitable, which will have a positive economic impact.
The counterattacks of the first day were focused on three locations: Mount Murovdag, Tartar-Agdam direction and Fizuli-Jabrail direction. The capture of Murovdag was required to control the main road in the occupied lands, the counteroffensive in Agdere was intended to break through the occupants' defense line in the most difficult area, forcing the invaders to concentrate significant forces there, and the battles for the breakthrough to Fizuli would later turn out to be a key event in the beginning of the Patriotic War.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan declared martial law in the republic. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev made his first address to the population during the Patriotic War, in which he emphasized that Baku has no military targets on the territory of Armenia and that Azerbaijani troops are acting exclusively on Azerbaijani soil.
The first battles were so fierce that Armenia, unlike previous incidents, immediately began to admit its losses, since then Yerevan was publishing the names of the killed invaders daily. Already at noon, the Armenian occupation forces said that Azerbaijan took control of the roads in the occupied territories. Meanwhile, the Armenian Defense Ministry reported that the occupation army does not yet need volunteers, although Pashinyan called on all Armenian citizens liable for military service to visit the military registration and enlistment offices.
The Azerbaijani community of Karabakh demanded the immediate withdrawal of the Armenian occupation forces from Azerbaijan. Turkish journalists who were in the Tartar District came under fire, which the Armenian troops conducted across the peaceful Azerbaijani settlements. In the afternoon, the first international negotiations on the situation took place: the Russian Foreign Ministry contacted first with Yerevan, and then with Ankara, and somewhat later with Baku.
By 13:00, the Azerbaijani army had already liberated a number of settlements occupied for almost three decades: the villages of Garakhanbeyli, Garvyand, Horadiz, Yukhary Abdurrahmanly in the Fizuli District and the Boyuk Myarchanli and Nyuzgar villages in the Jabrayil District, after an hour and a half Ashagy Abdurakhmanly was liberated. Thus, there was a breakthrough of the line of defense of the occupiers in the southern direction. In the direction of Agdere and on Murovdag, the dominant heights were taken under control.
At about 14:00, the EU began calling for an end to hostilities: including President of the European Council Charles Michel, Council of Europe Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Edi Rama, NATO Secretary General's Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia James Appathurai and Pope Francis. They were joined by Georgia represented by President Salome Zurabishvili.
From Armenia's side, fakes about Azerbaijani losses were prepared in advance using archive footage. Meanwhile, the evacuation of separatists and occupiers from the Tartar-Agdam direction - from Agdere, Talish and Sugovushan, where the Azerbaijani troops were rapidly advancing, was in full swing. Ilham Aliyev, having gathered the Security Council of Azerbaijan, stressed that the counter-offensive operation would put an end to injustice.
Soon after 15:00, the first video about the course of the Patriotic War appeared - similar videos shot with drones will then be published by the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan on a daily basis. Shortly before 16:00, the occupying forces in Agdere, which had fallen into a stalemate in the first hours of hostilities, were asked to surrender.
At the same time, Nikol Pashinyan made his first appeal to the international community, in which he promised a large-scale regional war that would definitely go beyond the territory of Azerbaijan to the lands of neighboring countries. After that, Iran called on the parties to ceasefire, and Kazakhstan expressed its readiness to become a mediator in the settlement of the conflict. The Russian community of Azerbaijan also appealed to the world community, indicating that the aggression of Armenia threatens the stability of the entire Greater Caucasus.
The initial losses in the Armenian army were so great that by 17:00 the republic was running out of blood for transfusion. Nikol Pashinyan made another threat - about the readiness to "recognize the independence" of the separatists in Karabakh, which Armenia has never done - but at the same time urged the Karabakh Armenians and illegal settlers to flee to Armenia.
By 17:30, more than 100 Armenian invaders were recognized as killed and wounded, the invaders began to abandon military equipment, and videos showing the flight from Agdere were published.
Shortly before 18:00, it became known about the first important event of the Patriotic War - Mount Murovdag was liberated. Thus, already on September 27, the road from Armenia to Agdera was cut, the occupation troops lost the most convenient route for the delivery of reinforcements.
After that, all conscripts until the age of 55 were called up for military service in Armenia. Ilham Aliyev introduced martial law in Azerbaijan, but no mobilization was announced. Nikol Pashinyan held a phone talk with Russian President Vladimir Putin for the first time (he would later call the Russian leader every day).
At 18:30 it became known that separatists, occupants and illegal settlers were fleeing from Khankendi. Armenia published fake news about the battles on the border with Azerbaijan, while the battles were fought on Azerbaijani soil. It turned out that as a result of Armenian shelling, five members of one family in the Azerbaijani village of Gashalti, Naftalan region, were killed. The Prosecutor General's Office of Azerbaijan has begun to prepare documents for the international tribunal against Armenia. The elimination of the ammunition depots of the occupying forces is being actively carried out.
In the evening, Estonia proposed to initiate the United Nations Security Council consultations on military operations in the occupied lands of Azerbaijan, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres promised to hold talks with Ilham Aliyev and Nikol Pashinyan. Pashinyan at an emergency meeting of the Armenian parliament proposed to agree to the recognition of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, but was refused. Yerevan's puppet regime in the occupation zone recognized the liberation of a number of settlements. The United States was last to react to the fighting.
Thus, on the first day of Patriotic War, September 27, 2020, the Azerbaijani army managed to take control of the most important point in the northern sector of the front - Mount Murovdag, advance to Talysh and Sugovushan in the northeastern direction and break through the defenses of the occupiers in the southern direction, where the invaders were expelled not only from the settlements of the Fizuli district, but also from the villages of the Jebrail district, located in the depths of the occupation zone.