The Armenian-Azerbaijani war is nearing the end of its second week with no prospects of de-escalation through diplomatic channels in the near future.
The Azerbaijani-Turkish bloc still aims to deal with the so-called Nagorno-Karabakh question by military measures. At the same time, Armenia is not going to accept the Azerbaijani demands and surrender the contested region.
The Armenian military reported that its forces had repelled two powerful Azerbaijani attacks in the southern part of Karabakh killing multiple Azerbaijani soldiers and destroying nine armored vehicles. It also claimed that a large grouping of Azerbaijani forces was defeated near Horadiz. These claims were rejected by Azerbaijan that released multiple videos confirming the recent advances in the area of Jabrayil and gains in the region.
In recent videos only, Azerbaijan showcased five to ten Armenian T-72 battle tanks, most of them heavily damaged, two BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicles and a BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicle. Azerbaijani media also announced that Azerbaijan pushed Armenian forces away from the key town of Fuzuli inflicting ‘heavy casualties’ to the enemy. However, the town most likely remains in the contested zone. Meanwhile, Azerbaijani forces reportedly secured the area of the Magadiz dam and flooded the Tartar river.
Both sides continue arguing that the war is raging not only in the contested Nagorno-Karabakh region, but also in the border areas of Azerbaijan and Armenia. In particular, the Azerbaijani military reported that Armenian forces delivered a series of strikes on Barda city as well as multiple villages in the districts of Barda and Aghjabedi.
The Armenian Defense Ministry also reports Azerbaijani artillery and even air strikes on border villages. For example, Armenia allegedly shot down 8 Azerbaijani combat drones in its airspace on just the evening of October 8.
Meanwhile, pro-Turkish sources reacted to the satellite images showing Turkish F-16 fighter jets at the Ganja airbase in Azerbaijan after the start of the war. According to them, Turkish warplanes were there to deter Armenia from attacks on “civilian populations and military installations within Azerbaijan”.
Apparently it did not help as the Azerbaijani leadership regularly reports such attacks. Turkish special forces, military advisers, electronic warfare and psychological operations units, heavily supported by a large number of members of Syrian militant groups, appeared to be more effective. As it was expected slowly but steadily Azerbaijan is been taking an upper hand in the conflict.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan already started searching for ‘traitors’ among its forces and residents as more and more voices raise concerns regarding the actions of the government in the previous years that undermined Armenia’s regional positions and alliances and made it vulnerable to the Azerbaijani-Turkish attack.
In the comings weeks, Azerbaijani forces using help from Turkey with the advantage in air power, artillery and manpower, will develop their offensive in the southern part of the Nagorno-Karabakh region aiming to seize full control over the areas of Fuzuli, Hartut and nearby villages in order to besiege the city of Stepanakert from the southern direction.
If this happens, the capital of the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic will be put in grave danger, including the increasing chances of a direct Azerbaijani attack on the city.
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*All posts on behalf of South Front are made by Gordon Duff