Azerbaijani armed forces have liberated the city of Shusha, located in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, as part of the ongoing clashes between the Armenian and Azerbaijani forces.
Shusha under Azerbaijan control would be a major victory as it’s been six weeks into the fight break out over Nagorno-Karabakh, an area that broke away from Azerbaijan’s control in the 1990s.
It is the mounted area around 15km from Nagorno-Karabakh’s major city Stepanakert and on the main highway through the region to the territory of Armenia, the state has the backing of separatists who are ethnic Armenians.
Both countries indulged in fierce clashes around the town recently and the Azerbaijani army cleared the area across the Southern flank of Nagorno-Karabakh.
While addressing the nation, Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev publicized that the town had been taken.
“With great pride and joy, I inform you that the town of Shusha has been liberated,” said Aliyev, dressed in military fatigues and standing in front of an Azerbaijani flag.
Furthermore, “go down in the history of the Azerbaijani people” as the day “we returned to Shusha”.
“Our liberation march continues. We will go to the end, until the complete liberation of the occupied territories,” Aliyev said.
Celebrations in Baku after liberation of Shusha
Soon after President Aliyev’s announcement, Azerbaijanis started celebrating and came to the streets with cars honking and flags waving.
However, the Armenians confirmed that there was a heavy brawl between two forces over town but the battle is not over yet.
“The fighting continues in Shushi, wait and believe in our army,” Armenian defence ministry official Artsrun Hovhannisyan said.
“Despite heavy destruction, the fortress city withstands the blows of the adversary,” it said.
Shusha had been part of Azerbaijan before the 1990 conflict started which resulted in Shusha separation. The ongoing conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan is over the control of Karabakh, who declared its independence 30 years ago, but it was not accepted internationally nor even by Armenians and hence the region remained under Azerbaijan according to law.
In recent clashes, more than 1,000 people confirmed dead including civilians.