23 years without Lachin

By: Sara Rajabova

May 18 marks occupation of the Lachin region, an important Azerbaijani strategic settlement, by the Armenian armed forces.

Lachin, considered a fortress gate for Azerbaijan, was seized by the Armenian armed forces on May 18, 1992.

The highland region, located between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, was populated mostly by Azerbaijanis and Kurds. The only road from Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh passed through this region’s center.

After the occupation of Shusha on May 8, 1992, the Armenian armed forces which managed to invade settlements around Lachin, fired shells into the center of the region. Launching their attack on the night of May 16 from a place called Turshsu in Shusha and the Gor region in Armenia, the Armenian forces occupied Lachin. Most of the enemy forces managed to enter the region through the Lachin corridor.

The Armenian invaders destroyed hundreds cultural facilities and dozens settlements, villages and historical monuments. 63,341 Azerbaijani citizens were driven out of their homes as a result of the occupation.

The Lachin region included 121 villages with a total area of 1,835 square km. More than 300 military men and civilians were killed or went missing during Lachin’s occupation, and 103 people were wounded or disabled. 18 Azerbaijani children were killed, 225 were injured, and 31 lost both parents.

8,950 buildings, 7 industrial and construction enterprises, 471 service facilities, 154 schools, and hundreds of cultural and historical monuments remain under occupation.

The occupation of Lachin, a region of geo-strategic significance, dealt a serious blow to Azerbaijan’s economy. The losses incurred are estimated at $7 billion.

With this occupation, the Azerbaijani people were not only ousted from their lands, but they also suffered the loss of magnificent architectural and historical sites. Precious artifacts of immense cultural value were looted and misappropriated by the Armenians.

The enemy destroyed light industrial enterprises and agricultural fields as well. Armenia occupied over 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s internationally recognized territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions after laying territorial claims against its South Caucasus neighbor. This led to a violent and brutal war in the early 1990s. Long-standing efforts by US, Russian, and French mediators have been largely fruitless so far.

Despite four UN Security Council resolutions calling for Armenia to immediately withdraw from all Azerbaijani territory, Armenia continues its illegal and illegitimate occupation.

SOURCE: Azer News