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Live updates: Day 38 of war in Nagorno-Karabakh 

3 November 2020

Fighting is continuing for the 38th day over Nagorno-Karabakh, despite three ceasefires being agreed.

[The news as it happened: 27 September, 28 September, 29 September, 30 September, 1 October, 2 October, 3 October, 4 October, 5 October, 6 October, 7 October, 8 October, 9 October, 10 October, 11 October, 12 October, 13 October, 14 October, 15 October, 16 October, 17 October, 18 October, 19 October, 20 October, 21 October, 22 October, 23 October, 24 October, 25 October, 26 October, October 27, October 28, October 29, October 30, October 31, November 1]

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 For ease of reading, we choose not to use qualifiers such as ‘de facto’, ‘unrecognised’, or ‘partially recognised’ when discussing institutions or political positions within Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh, and South Ossetia. This does not imply a position on their status.

03 Nov 2020, 19:11

Armenian green groups protest destruction of forests

The Armenian Environmental front has released a joint statement signed by fifty NGOs and institutions expressing concern over possible environmental destruction in Nagorno-Karabakh. The groups condemned Azerbaijani military accusing them of using white phosphorus munitions on forested areas. 

The majority of the signatories are Armenian organisations but the list aslo includes one French organisation and another from Luxembourg. 

The groups called for ‘moral responsibility’ in order to reject ‘war crimes both against humans and nature’.

‘The usage of white phosphorus munitions by Azerbaijani forces in those forests will not only destroy valuable ecosystems and habitats and put threatened species at risk of extinction but will contaminate rivers and underground waters for years, thus turning into a major threat on a regional scale for all the people and wildlife living in the region’, the statement says.

According to the Armenian Unified Infocenter, 150 hectares of land has been burnt over the last three days as a result of white phosphorus use in the Martuni (Khojavend) district

The Nagorno‐Karabakh Public Defender’s Office has released a report accusing Azerbaijan of burning at least 1,815 hectares of forest.

03 Nov 2020, 18:33

Armenia and Azerbaijan continue mutual accusations of shelling residential areas

Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Defence has accused Armenian forces shelling the city of Fuzuli (Varanda) and the surrounding villages with the Smerch cluster munitions. The Ministry of Defence of Armenia has denied the attack. 

The ministry also accused Armenian forces of ‘shelling civilian infrastructure’ in residential areas of Aghdam (Akna) and Aghjabadi (Beghamej). 

Concurrently the Ministry of Defence of Armenia accused Azerbaijani forces of firing artillery at Armenian units, claiming that ‘several artillery projectiles’ fell in the territory of Iran.

The Armenian Unified Infocenter also accused Azerbaijan of shelling Martuni (Khojavand) district and the city of Shusha (Shushi) with military aviation and multiple launch rocket systems. No deaths have been reported.

03 Nov 2020, 15:30

Pashinyan criticises Israel for aiding Azerbaijan

Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has criticised the Israeli government for aiding and providing Azerbaijan with military equipment which is being used in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. 

‘Israel has lined up with Turkey, terrorists, and Syrian mercenaries in backing Azerbaijan in the current conflict with Armenia, and will eventually suffer the consequence of that unholy alliance,’ Pashinyan said in an interview with the Jerusalem Post.

Pashinyan stated that it was only a matter of time before Turkey’s ‘imperialistic ambition’ will be aimed at Israel. 

According to him, because Israeli UAVs are being actively used in the war, this makes Israel an active player in the conflict.

During the interview, Pashinyan stressed the danger of including Syrian mercenaries and terrorists by Turkey in the conflict. ‘Israel should ponder whether it really wants to be on the same side in the conflict as Turkey,’ he said. 

Armenia recalled its newly-appointed ambassador to Israel for consultations shortly after the war broke out. Soon after, Israel offered humanitarian aid to Armenia. When asked if Armenia would accept the aid, Pashinyan made clear that Armenia would not accept aid from a country that ‘sells weapons to mercenaries, which they use to strike a civilian peaceful population.’

‘I propose Israel send that aid to the mercenaries and to the terrorists as the logical continuation of its activities,’ Pashinyan stated. 

03 Nov 2020, 11:52

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights warns of possible war crimes

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet stated yesterday that indiscriminate strikes on populated areas in and around Nagorno-Karabakh, in contravention of international humanitarian law, could amount to war crimes.

‘International humanitarian law cannot be clearer,’ Bachelet stressed. ‘Attacks carried out in violation of the principle of distinction or the principle of proportionality may amount to war crimes, and the parties to the conflict are obliged to effectively, promptly, thoroughly, and impartially investigate such violations and to prosecute those alleged to have committed them.’

Bachelet expressed concern about the use of cluster munition by both sides as well.

‘Amid deeply troubling reports that cluster munitions have been used by both parties,  I call once again on Armenia and Azerbaijan to stop using them, and to join the more than 100 States that have ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions which comprehensively bans their use,’ the High Commissioner said.

Bachelet also expressed concern about videos that have emerged which appear to show war crime being committed. In her statement, Bachelet said that ‘in-depth investigations by media organisations into videos that appeared to show Azerbaijani troops summarily executing two captured Armenians in military uniforms uncovered compelling and deeply disturbing information’. She stated that this could be a war crime under the Geneva Conventions.

03 Nov 2020, 11:15

Fighting continues for the 38th day

Both sides have reported that fighting continued overnight along the eastern, southeastern, and southern directions of the front.

The Ministry of Defence of Armenia said that active combat continued overnight. Spokesperson Shushan Stepanyan said that an attack in the North was prevented. The Armenian Unified Infocenter reported that Azerbaijani forces opened fire on the towns of Martuni (Khojavand) and Shusha (Shushi) with Smerch rocket batteries.

Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Defence accused Armenian forces of firing at settlements and military units in Tovuz, Gadabay and Dashkesan. Most of the fighting took place in the direction of Martakert (Aghdere), Martuni (Khojavend), Zangilan (Kovsakan) and Gubadli (Kashunik), the Ministry of Defence has reported.

Neither side reported civilian deaths.

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