Battle of Aghdam
|Battle of Aghdam|
|Part of the Nagorno-Karabakh War|
|Commanders and leaders|
1 squadron of Mi-24's
~ 60 tanks
unknown number of tanks, armoured fighting vehicles and Mi-24 helicopters
|Casualties and losses|
The Battle of Aghdam or Battle of Agdam (June – July 1993) – took place on July 23, 1993 in the context of the Nagorno-Karabakh War, during which Armenian forces of Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army took control of Aghdam.
Following Operation Goranboy in 1992, the Azeri forces lost the control of the territory of former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast by mid-1993. During the military coup in Ganja by Colonel Surat Huseynov followed by political turmoil in Baku in June 1993, Huseynov's pulled his forces back from Karabakh front and marched on Baku. Taking advantage of the power struggle in Baku, the Armenian forces advanced on Agdam. The city of Agdam is located about 30 km northeast of Stepanakert. Azerbaijanis in Agdam and Armenians in Stepanakert and Askeran would exchange heavy artillery fire. The shelling of Agdam became more intense starting from early March 1993.
The assault on Agdam started on June 12 from north and south of Agdam using Grad missile lanchers, heavy artillery and tanks. The campaign also included simultaneous assault on Tartar. The first attack on the city was repelled by Azerbaijani defense. The clash was marked by the death of Monte Melkonian, a famed Armenian military commander. Russian journalist Dmitri Pisarenko who filmed the clash later wrote that the tape had been confiscated by the enraged Commander in Chief of the Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army Samvel Babayan who was concerned that the failure of his army widely praised as "phenomenal" by the Russian media would negatively affect its image abroad. However, Armenians were able to capture Farukh mountain 10 km away from Agdam overlooking the town from the northeast. Khydyrly village around which Azerbaijani forces took up positions fell next. Shelling of Qiyasli village situated several kilometers behind the city of Agdam to the east, started on June 20 and within three days was overrun by Armenian forces resulting in death of Azerbaijani civilians. At the same time, the Armenian forces moved towards the city from the south capturing Merzili and Yusifcanlı villages. By July 5, the city of Agdam was surrounded by Armenian forces and was subject to heavy artillery and Grad bombardment. A massive exodus of Azerbaijani civilians was observed while Azerbaijani forces managed to re-take several villages. The city of Agdam fell on July 23. Within the next few weeks Armenian forces systematically looted and burned the city and surrounding villages. Smoke could be seen from ten to twenty miles away. According to the Western diplomat active in OSCE Minsk Group, the looting and burning of Azerbaijani city and villages was a well-orchestrated plan organized by Karabakh Armenian authorities.
During the offensive and capture of Agdam, the Armenian forces committed several violations of the rules of war including arson, hostage-taking and ethnic cleansing. The city of Agdam was looted and burned under orders of Armenian authorities. Some Azerbaijani soldiers who were captured by Armenian troops in Agdam and Tartar were shot on the spot.
Despite the national mobilization, Azerbaijani forces were able to retake only a few villages but not the city. Today the city lies in ruins and is used by the Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army as a vital strategic defense point.
Following the battle of Aghdam, on July 25 ceasefire was announced by Karabakh Armenian authorities and Azerbaijani government. In the course of next three months, Karabakh Armenians with the support from Armenia captured four new Azerbaijani districts of Qubadli, Jabrayil, Fizuli and Zangelan resulting in displacement of 250,000–300,000 Azerbaijani civilians.
On July 29, 1993, UN Security Council passed the UN Security Council Resolution 853 reaffirming Resolution 822 and condemning seizure of Agdam and other areas of Azerbaijan demanding a complete withdrawal of Armenian troops from these areas and asking the Government of Armenia to exert its influence to achieve compliance by the Armenians of the Nagorno-Karabakh region in Azerbaijan.
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