Azerbaijan

Armenia shells Barda, denies evidence of shelling

By | Rachel Brooks

October 27, 2020

This is a developing story. Images retrieved from social media. Fair use.

In the hours following the failed U.S. ceasefire, the shelling of Barda again brings to light arguments regarding human rights during the Nagorno-Karabakh war. Report.az stated that the Barda shelling resulted in the deaths of at least four civilians, including an eight-year-old girl and a toddler. This report circulated foreign outlets, including the BBC, which noted that the U.S. brokered ceasefire had “frayed” mere hours after it had been brokered. 

Family gathers around the deceased.

Azernews reported that the incident took place at 16:00 local time on October 27. The shelling struck the Qarayusifli village of Barda. There were four total fatalities, including two children. A minimum of 10 other people were wounded. The correspondent for Azertac News listed the names of the deceased as follows: Jafarova Ofeliya Majid gizi, Ahmadova Aybaniz Ashraf gizi, Ismayilov Ehtiram Khalil oglu, and Isgandarova Aysu Rovshan gizi, born in 2013. Azertac’s report stated that there were “dozens wounded.” The precise number was not stated at the time of the Azertac News report. 

Scene of the blasts in Barda.

Azertac News stated likewise that the attack carried out on Barda allegedly was a cluster missile attack. Defense experts have stated that there is a potential for Armenian forces to access cluster missiles. The Armenian forces have repeatedly alleged that Azerbaijan used cluster munitions against their military positions, but defense experts familiar with the scenario stated that the ballistic patterns of retaliatory fire into Armenian military positions do not indicate a cluster strike.

The Cluster Munitions Coalition and Amnesty International alleged that the cluster munitions were used by Azerbaijan and were Israeli-made M095 DPICM munitions, however, the defense expert consulted by Republic Underground news stated that it would be difficult to confirm the make of a missile from the aftermath of detonation. Many of these weapons have the same appearance.  

The Cluster Munitions Coalition had not yet responded to our initial request for comment at the time of this reporting.

Updated Text: Further reports from the Azerbaijani National Agency for Mine Action, or ANAMA, state evidence of the use of cluster munitions from the Armenian line. This was announced by assistance to the president Hikmet Hajiyev. We will issue follow up reports when we have cross-referenced this report with Azerbaijani foreign sources. 

 

Republic Underground is working to confirm from blasitic reports and multiple sources, if there were cluster munitions involved in the Armenian airstrike.

The incident sparked outrage from the Azerbaijani representative of Nagorno-Karabakh Tural Ganjali. 

An image of a family in Barda observing the aftermath of the airstrike

“Few hours ago another missile attack has been launched on #Barda killing civilians, including a toddler,” stated Ganjali. 

“There is only one way to stop the barbaric civilian/baby killer armed forces of #Armenia – to eliminate all the legitimate military targets attacking our civilian population.” 

There was a response from the Press Secretary of the Ministry of Defense of Armenia. The Press Secretary Shushan Stepanyan denied all reports from Azerbaijan regarding Barda, despite photographic evidence. 

“The statement of the Azerbaijani side about an alleged rocket attack carried out from the territory of #Armenia in the direction of Barda is an absolute lie & a dirty provocation,” tweeted Stepanyan. 

“No missile was fired from the AF of Armenia or the Artsakh #DefenseArmy in the mentioned direction.”

Reports from foreign outlets continued to confirm the legitimacy of the Barda shelling incident. This is not the first time that this has occurred, as the Tass Russian News Agency has reported incidents of shelling on the civilian locale of Barda have been recurring over October. 

From the scene of the blast.

 

Reports from Azerbaijani officials state that civilians were given an evacuation notice before the retaliatory fire on Armenian military bases in the greater Stepanakert region. The Azerbaijani side has not received the same quarter, citing civilian statements. 

To compound issues, the word of officials and civilians alike is questioned as each side accuses the other of operating an elaborate propaganda ring. Outside news sources continue to publish polarizing news regarding the conflict, choosing to focus on the risks of proxy war rather than on the immediate issue of the conflict resolution. A tremor of fear sounds through the globe, as the foreign politicians look on expecting Turkey and Russia to choose a side on the blurred lines of a territorial conflict confused with an ethnoreligious call to arms. 

The world has valid concerns with a conflict bleed over, as a 13-year-old Russian citizen visiting his aunt in Ganja was killed in the shelling of the city by Armenian forces. Likewise, in the conflict at the border of Iran, shells entered the Iranian territory. This ultimately triggered a mobilization effort by Iranian forces, who appear to gear up in support of the Armenian agenda. 

In the wake of these politics, world leadership counts the dead. The BBC reported within the last week that Russia’s Vladimir Putin puts the death toll at 5,000 people. However, the BBC noted that this death toll is enormous in comparison to the numbers counted by either side in the dispute. The questions flare, asking whether this statement is a deliberate act of disinformation by the Russian president, or whether the conflict has reported fewer deaths than have occurred.