2010 Mardakert skirmishes

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2010 Mardakert Skirmishes
Part of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict
Date June 18–19; September 1, 2010
Location In and around Nagorno-Karabakh:
Chayli, Mardakert Rayon
Fizuli
Jraberd, Mardakert Rayon
Belligerents
 Nagorno-Karabakh[1]
 Armenia
 Azerbaijan
Strength
Unknown Unknown
Casualties and losses
June: 4 dead, 4 wounded[2]
September: 1 wounded (Armenian claim)[3]
3 dead (Azerbaijani claim)[3]
June: 2 dead[1]
September: 1 dead (Azerbaijani claim)[3]
2 dead (Armenian claim)[3][4]

The 2010 Mardakert skirmishes were a series of violations of the Nagorno-Karabakh War ceasefire. They took place across the line of contact dividing Azerbaijan and the ethnic Armenian military forces of the unrecognized but de facto independent Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. Both sides accused the other of violating the ceasefire regime. These were the worst violations of the cease fire (which has been in place since 1994) in two years and left Armenian forces with the heaviest casualties since the Mardakert skirmishes of March 2008.[5]

June skirmish[edit]

The skirmish occurred near the village of Chayli, located in the province of Mardakert/Tartar in Nagorno-Karabakh on June 18–19. According to the Defense Ministry of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, Armenian forces along the line of contact came under surprise attack by a 20-man Azerbajani reconnaissance or sabotage unit at about 11:30 PM on June 18.[6] The Azeri forces killed four Armenian soldiers and an Azerbaijani warrant officer were killed, and four Armenians were wounded, one critically.[7] According to the NKR Defense Ministry, the body of Azerbaijani Warrant Officer Mubariz Ibrahimov was left on the Armenian side of the contact line, as the rest of his unit retreated.[2] Armenian forces retaliated the next day by launching an attack near Fizuli on June 20–21, killing one Azerbaijani serviceman.[5] Azerbaijani forces claimed to have repelled the attack and inflicted further casualties on the Armenians.

Military analysis[edit]

Richard Giragosian, the director of the Armenian Center for National and International Studies and a former defense analyst for Jane's, described the intrusion as "either a test on Armenian response or a sign of lack of command and discipline in the Azerbaijani military."[8] He described it as "more professional and more deadly than previous such incursions" and had been planned days in advance.[5] The fact that the attack began with an Azerbaijani sniper inflicting a fatal head wound on an Armenian soldier was further evidence of this, he said.[5]

Reaction[edit]

 Armenia[edit]

President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan called the skirmish an "Azeri provocation," which took place hours after he had met his counterpart, Ilham Aliyev for peace talks regarding the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.[9]

 Azerbaijan[edit]

Officials in Azerbaijan dismissed the Armenians' claim.[1] The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said it was the Armenians who had fired at its forces using automatic rifles and machine guns.[5] Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry spokesman Elkhan Polukhov stated that the skirmish was a "direct consequence of Armenia's failure to withdraw from occupied Azerbaijani territory."[5]

Shortly after the incident, on July 22, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev conferred ensign Ibrahimov with the title of National Hero of Azerbaijan for his services to the state while resisting attacks of Armenian forces.[10] Azerbaijani sources have since claimed that Ibrahimov was single-handedly responsible for killing all four of the Armenian soldiers and wounding the five others. They have speculated that his actions were voluntary and the result of personal a desire to take vengeance against the enemy.[10]

Reaction in the world[edit]

In his confirmation hearings as the United States' ambassador to Azerbaijan in July 2010, Matthew Bryza confirmed that the attack was initiated by the Azerbaijani side, stating "There was an Azerbaijani move across the line of contact, Armenia responded, resulting in deaths."[11]

The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group condemned the skirmish and stated that it was "an unacceptable violation of the 1994 Cease-Fire Agreement and...contrary to the stated commitment of the sides to refrain from the use of force or the threat of the use of force." The use of military force at this juncture "can only be seen as an attempt to damage the peace process."[12]

September skirmish[edit]

On September 1, 2010, on the eve of Dmitry Medvedev's visit to Azerbaijan, another skirmish took place near Jraberd, Mardakert/Tartar Rayon. Azerbaijan announced that two Azeris and three Armenians were killed, while Armenia claimed to have killed 4-7 Azeris at the cost of one wounded. One of the Azeris killed was Farid Ahmadov whose body, according to Azerbaijan, remained on the Armenian side of the frontlines.[13] Both sides blamed the other for starting the attack.[4] The Baku office of the International Red Cross appealed to the Armenian side requesting assistance in returning the bodies of both Ibrahimov and Ahmadov. The PACE resolution issued on October 6 also urged the Armenian side to return the bodies of both soldiers.[14]

The military authorities of Nagorno-Karabakh handed over the bodies of Ibrahimov and Ahmadov to Azerbaijan on November 6, 2010.[15]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Armenian, Azerbaijani Clashes Continue In Karabakh." RFE/RL. June 22, 2010. Retrieved June 22, 2010.
  2. ^ a b Sanamyan, Emil. "Four Armenian Soldiers Killed in Karabakh Skirmish." Eurasia Review. June 20, 2010. Retrieved June 24, 2010.
  3. ^ a b c d Several killed in Nagorno-Karabakh clash. BBC News. 1 September 2010. Retrieved 12 September 2010.
  4. ^ a b Azerbaijan Claims Five Killed In Clash On Nagorno-Karabakh Border. RFE/RL. 1 September 2010. Retrieved 12 September 2010.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Fuller, Liz. "OSCE, EU Condemn Karabakh 'Armed Incident'." RFE/RL. June 22, 2010. Retrieved 22 June 2010.
  6. ^ "NKR Defense Ministry Statement." Lragir. June 19, 2010. Retrieved 24 June 2010.
  7. ^ Один из раненых армянских солдат в крайне тяжелом состоянии
  8. ^ "Fighting erupts in Karabakh in what Armenia calls a major Azeri 'provocation'." ArmeniaNow. June 19, 2010. Retrieved June 19, 2010.
  9. ^ Mkrtchyan, Hasmik, Lada Yevgrashina and Maria Kiselyova. "Four Armenians and one Azeri killed in Karabakh clash." Reuters. June 19, 2010. Retrieved June 19, 2010.
  10. ^ a b "Mubariz Ibrahimov’s heroic action receives high appraisal of the state." News.az. July 23, 2010. Retrieved August 10, 2010.
  11. ^ Kucera, Joshua. "Baku Envoy Nominee Faces Grilling During Confirmation Hearing." Eurasianet. July 22, 2010. Retrieved August 10, 2010.
  12. ^ OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs issue statement.
  13. ^ "2 Azerbaijani troops killed in border clash with Armenia over disputed Nagorno-Karabakh." Associated Press. 1 September 2010. Retrieved 12 September 2010.
  14. ^ "The need to return the corpses of Azerbaijani soldiers to their state." Written Declaration No 458. Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly. 6 October 2010.
  15. ^ Musayelian, Lusine. "More Armenian, Azeri Bodies Swapped ." RFE/RL. November 8, 2010.

Coordinates: 40°12′37″N 46°48′33″E / 40.210278°N 46.809167°E / 40.210278; 46.809167