Ilham Aliyev unveils some details of Karabakh combat operation plan
The liberation of Gubadli district and the city of Gubadli gave us a great strategic advantage, because the next direction after Gubadli was Lachin district, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev said making a speech in Gubadli city liberated from occupation.
"Every day, I approved a combat operation plan. Every day, the work was summarized and analyzed – to what extent the work done during that day was in line with our plans and what achievements we had made. The road from Gubadli to the southern part of Lachin district was constantly under fire. Because the road to Lachin district passes right next to the state border of Armenia – the distance there is perhaps 10-20 meters, so Armenia was constantly firing on us from that side. Therefore, our military units reached the strategic heights of Lachin district by other roads and various mountain paths. Thus, Gulabird village, Safiyan village, Turklar village located in the southern part of Lachin district were liberated. At the same time, the capture of strategic heights allowed us the opportunity to keep the Lachin corridor within firing range," the head of state said.
"The enemy was waiting for us from this side. Of course, the enemy was well aware that the war cannot stop without the liberation of Shusha. The enemy thought that after taking over the southern part of Lachin district, we would go to Shusha from this side. We also knew that the enemy was waiting for us here. We moved towards Shusha from another direction, a direction they did not expect. They are still in disbelief as to how our heroic soldiers and officers approached Shusha through those mountains, valleys and forests, and liberated Shusha from occupation. They were waiting for us here and, at the same time, in the direction of Girmizibazar settlement of Khojavand district. But we went towards Shusha through another direction. Approaching Shusha, we liberated several villages, including Sighnag, Chanakhchi and Dashalti. The Gubadli operation was of great importance because it was after Gubadli that we liberated the city of Shusha from occupation. Gubadli was liberated on 25 October and Shusha was liberated on 8 November. And the enemy was forced to surrender," the head of state said.
He recalled that the operation to liberate Gubadli district took several days. "After the liberation of Zangilan on 20 October, of course, our next destination was Gubadli district. The Armenians had built strong fortifications in the city. At the entrance to the city, the enemy had set up a military base. This is why it was not easy to liberate the city of Gubadli. First of all, Armenian fortifications had to be destroyed, and one of them was located in Khanlig settlement. They had built strong fortifications there and turned Khanlig settlement into a base for themselves. The Armenians living abroad had built a settlement there. But it is Azerbaijani soldiers who are stationed in this settlement now. Armenians were brought here from abroad with the money of the Armenian diaspora and were illegally settled in Gubadli. This is a war crime in itself. The Armenian state will be held accountable for this and all other crimes," Aliyev said.
"In order to liberate Gubadli, we first had to seize these heights because the enemy was regularly firing on our soldiers from these heights. At the same time, we were fired on from the territory of Armenia proper. Azerbaijan did not intend to move into the territory of Armenia, and I have repeatedly stated this during the war. They believed that they could use these opportunities to stop our attack. The distance from here, from the city of Gubadli, to the Armenian border over there is 5 kilometers. They fired on our soldiers with heavy artillery both from there and from these heights, using various weapons. Therefore, the Gubadli operation required special professionalism and self-sacrifice. And the Azerbaijani Army showed this professionalism and self-sacrifice. First of all, we took the heights dominating the city, the surrounding villages, including Khanlig settlement, Padar, Sariyatag, Mahmudlu villages, and other strategic heights. After that, the Azerbaijani Armed Forces entered the city and cleared it of the enemy," President Aliyev noted.
He stressed that the work Azerbaijan did during the war is being studied in the military schools of leading countries. "I have exact information about this. Our foreign partners have informed us that Azerbaijan's military tactics and our operations are being studied in the higher military schools of the most developed countries, and this is a modern combat tactic. No-one in the world had used this tactic before us. All of the key factors here were aimed at achieving the goal by inflicting crushing blows to the enemy with minimal losses and virtually destroying the enemy's army, and this is exactly what happened. We launched a counter-offensive on 27 September and then switched to the offensive. We had to liberate our lands. Armenia's provocations had to be stopped. The killing of innocent people had to be stopped. After the counter-offensive, the attacking side usually suffers more casualties. However, our losses are very small given the scale of the war. Every single martyr is irreplaceable, the death of each person is a great tragedy – for themselves, for their relatives, for the entire nation. But we must also say that we have achieved what we wanted with few losses. This is probably why some people think that this issue could have been resolved earlier. However, it is a great heroism to liberate this territory from occupation in 44 days, to destroy the enemy, to destroy the enemy’s army and to force the enemy to surrender," the head of state said.
According to him, Azerbaijan tried to build its tactics so that the losses were minimal. "At the same time, there were quite a few unexpected steps in our tactics as well. The tactical methods we used are a novelty for the world’s military science. More information on this issue will be provided in due course. However, the information dripping through to foreign media suggests that this war was and is being seriously analyzed by military experts. Professionalism, heroism, planning, strong resolve, national spirit, technical equipment – all these factors combined and the unity of the people and the government have preconditioned our victory," the Azerbaijani president said.
"Every day, we were moving forward, and over the course of 44 days there was not a single day on which we would retreat. There was not a single day on which we did not achieve our plan. Every morning, I approved the daily combat plan, which was subsequently analyzed at the end of that day. As a result, we were able to achieve a great victory in a short time and liberate our native lands from the enemy. We have dealt such devastating blows to the enemy that it has not yet been able to recover," the head of state said.
"Today, the Azerbaijani flag is flying in the occupied territories. Today, as Commander-in-Chief, I am meeting with soldiers in these liberated lands. Specific steps have already been taken to restore this region, the Karabakh region. Preliminary contracts have already been signed. The hated enemy has destroyed everything there. Everything along the road is destroyed – from Jabrayil district to the liberated lands in Gubadli. There is not a single safe building. Only a few buildings remain in Gubadli, and this is where their servicemen and their families used to live. All buildings, all houses, our historical sites, our mosques and graves have been destroyed by the hated enemy. All these crimes are documented," the head of state said.
“When I visit these liberated territories and see the atrocities committed by the Armenians, I get further convinced what a great service we have done not only to ourselves, but also to our entire region. We have caved in the head of Armenian fascism. It is the Armenian fascism that has brought our lands to this plight. We have broken the back of the fascist Armenian state, the terrorist state. We brought it to its knees, so they must draw the right conclusions. Armenian society must draw the right conclusions. If they still cherish any revenge sentiments, they will face a bitter end. If a single bullet is fired here from the other side – the Armenian border is 5 kilometers from here – we will crush them so hard they will forget their own names," the Azerbaijani president noted.
"We have achieved our goal. The Victory Parade was held on 10 December. In that Victory Parade, we demonstrated the enemy's destroyed military equipment, the spoils of war we have taken, and also demonstrated our own military potential. We will continue to strengthen our army. Next year's budget is now being discussed. On my initiative, military spending is increasing. First of all, because we used up a lot of our weaponry during the war, and it needs to be replenished. At the same time, there are plans to continue purchasing modern equipment. The modernization of our army, the combat potential of our army, the professionalism of our army will always be in the spotlight," the head of state said.
"We have won a victory! We have driven the enemy out of our lands! But no-one can guarantee that Armenian fascism will not rise again in a few years. Therefore, the Azerbaijani state must always be strong. The Azerbaijani state must always have a strong army. We know how strong we are. And so does the world. If we had wanted, we could have carried out any military operation not only on our own territory, but also on the territory of Armenia. We could do it even today. The Armenian side is also aware of that. But we have always respected international law, and I have always said that we don’t set our sights on the lands of other countries. We must live on our own land. We will live here, we have driven the enemy out of our lands and we will restore this entire region," AzerTac cited the Azerbaijani leader as saying.