Over nine days of fighting, the Armenian Defense Army of Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) has come under a heavy, combined attack from Azerbaijan, the Turkish air force and Turkish-hired Syrian and Libyan mercenaries. According to the Defense Army, at least 231 Armenian servicemen have been killed in attacks, primarily by the Turkish combat drones. Also attacked are civilians in Stepanakert and elsewhere in Artsakh, as well as in Armenia’s Vardenis district. According to Artsakh’s Ombudsman, at least 21 civilians have been killed and 89 wounded in the shelling.
According to video evidence available, the Azerbaijani/mercenary forces have made inroads inside Armenian-controlled territory, in the northeast of Artsakh around the villages of Talish and Madagis and the very south along the Araxes River, near the Iranian border. While the Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev’s regime is refusing to report non-civilian casualties officially, hundreds of names of Azerbaijani servicemen killed have been published in social media. Additionally, according to reports from families cited in credible media reports, more than 50 Syrian mercenaries have been killed as well and their bodies flown back to Turkey; hundreds are believed wounded. Still, reports suggest hundreds more are being readied to be thrown into the fight.
Leaders of Turkey and Azerbaijan have brushed aside calls from presidents of France, Russia and the U.S. to stop the offensive. The three countries co-chair the OSCE Minsk Group mandated to mediate in the conflict. In the latest statement published on October 5, the Minsk Group “strongly condemn(ed) the unprecedented and dangerous escalation of violence” and called on the parties “to accept an immediate and unconditional ceasefire.”
The Armenian government has launched full mobilization to resist the aggression. A call has gone out to the Diaspora for emergency fundraising to support the defense and rebuilding of Artsakh, particularly via the Armenia Fund.