By Emil Sanamyan
Three months after the cease-fire, the Armenian government has yet to publish an official estimate for the Armenian losses in the 44-day war fought with Turkey-backed Azerbaijan between September 27 and November 10. Armenian officials have said that more than 3,500 remains of people killed in the war have been processed, including nearly 1,400 collected from the battlefields and homes in the occupied Armenian villages since after the cease-fire. Of these remains hundreds have yet to be identified.
The Armenian military continues to release lists of Armenian servicemen killed. In all, the Artsakh Defense Army web site has so far published more than 2,400 names of the servicemen who died. The lists do not follow any apparent standard or principle, not even the alphabetical order, and regularly contain inaccuracies. Some of these names published were later rescinded, with the servicemen turning out to be alive. Other names were published more than once, misspelled or with wrong dates of birth. The published names included those servicemen, whose remains had not been in Armenian custody at the time of publication, and who should have been considered missing in action. Separately, about 300 names of servicemen killed, whose names had not yet published by the military, were published by other official sources and mass media.
Of these more than 2,700 published names, at least 1,154 belong to conscripted soldiers, most of them born between the years 2000 and 2002. More than 500 names are those of reservists and volunteers, some 300 are contracted active duty personnel, more than 130 are officers and hundreds of others not yet identified. This suggests that up to three-fourths of the total Armenian casualties were from the standing army and just one-fourth from the mobilized reserve or volunteers.
Below is a chart of the daily Armenian military losses based on 1,303 records of Armenian servicemen whose dates of death were reported by the Soldiers’ Insurance Fund and media organizations such as Aravot.am, Banak.info, Hetq.am, Iravaban.net, Razm.info and Yerkir Media TV. This sample likely includes more than one-third of all Armenian military fatalities and appears to be sufficiently random to be representative of the course of the war.
As was already noted in the preceding analysis, the biggest daily losses occurred on the first day of the Turkish-backed Azerbaijani attack – primarily from shelling via artillery, drones and other aircraft – as well as following the collapse of the southern front on October 9-10 and Armenian forces’ attempt to break out of the encirclement inside Hadrut on October 13-14. In other words, the Armenian army suffered its biggest defeats by the third week of the war. Nevertheless, the fighting continued for three more weeks until a ceasefire was reached.