By | Rachel Brooks
October 11, 2020
Images retrieved from social media, fair use
The recent hopes of a ceasefire agreement between Azerbaijan and the Armenian offensive were dashed as shelling persisted in Ganja. This happened just hours after Russia, a member of the OSCE Minsk Group, mediated a ceasefire agreement meant to go into effect on October 10.
The Caucasus War Report shared official footage of these events calling them “unbelievable.” The footage shows both emergency workers and volunteers flocked to the scene of Ganja’s ruined peace, to pull those they could from the rubble.
Along with the video footage, photographic portraits circulated from the scene giving credence to the echo of international human rights advocate’s voices as well as local Azerbaijani, as they cry out against the injustice of the Armenian political regime.
A baby’s wailing while a toddler sits covered in blood is captured in still frames. As Armenian aggressions persist, with shelling attacks targeting civilian settlements, including those outside of the Nagorno-Karabakh, this scene has become the normal thing to witness. Human rights lawyer Irina Tsukerman has called on the international community to hold Armenia’s government accountability for shelling settlements, drawing attention to the shelling events in Ganja, which are a far distance from the front line.
“Armenia should be held accountable for intentional targeting of residential areas,” tweeted Tsukerman.
In Ganja, residential buildings were pulverized, with structures becoming mangled heaps of steel where hearth and home once stood. Photographic evidence shows windows blown from looming apartments, as the streets of the city yawn with the night of terror. Soldiers and rescue personnel climbed among the wreckage, on the phone as they searched for both the living and the dead. A quiet sobriety colors the scene in stillframe_as collages document the horror of war that transcends all aspects of Azerbaijani life.
Some of the rescue personnel are clothed in electronically reflexive gear, wreathed in a sort of soft and sacred light as they pick their path among the ruins of what was yesterday their neighborhood. It was not clear, at the time of this report, what the status was on the families who had lived in the decimated residential building. Whole neighborhoods are rapidly and recurringly displaced as the policy of intolerance and violence from the Armenian statehood agenda continues its press.
Residents of the city shared their photos on social media, sharing heartfelt messages mourning the devastation Ganja has faced in recent developments.
“My street now. My Ganja now,…”
“My hometown, my people…” They echoed one another.
At least three residential buildings were destroyed, and over seven civilians, including women, were killed. 33 civilians were injured, with children included in this number.
“It is worthy of note that children who live 60-100 km from the frontlines are innocent victims of international targeting,” said Tsukerman.
“This is not a valid retaliatory tactic in response to military action by Baku. Furthermore, Armenia claims that Azerbaijan attacked first, but has produced no evidence.”
Local Azerbaijan also made note of the fact that Ganja has sent no fire in the direction of Armenia. Ganja is considered a noncombatant location in the conflict, given its regional removal from both Nagorno-Karabakh and Baku. The distance between Ganja and Baku is 301km.
There is, however, volume to the evidence for Azerbaijan’s claim that Armenia has violated human rights. Particularly, the photographic evidence of women and children who have been victimized at apparent random as Ganja came under fire. One photo stands out famously among its peers, as it depicts a wailing child held in the hands of an adult who has blood coating their body. It is difficult to tell from the image if the blood belongs to the child or the parent. Onlookers try to comfort the traumatized pair, as the night’s shadows grow deeper, showing in stark contrast how the Armenian shelling attacks transpired at night, catching people by surprise.
As the ceasefire was broken as soon as it was formed, Azerbaijani people fear that Armenia’s corrupt political regime will hide behind further ceasefire agreements for the time being, in an effort to plot another offensive against unsuspecting civilians.
Foreign policy analysts look on with growing concerns, as foreign players enter the mix. The ceasefire talks, fragile at best, will be determined in part by how the foreign players influence talks and diplomacy. Some foreign policy analysts worry about the ramifications of this foreign influence. Luke Coffey, director of the Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation, noted that Russia’s position in the scenario is subject to “backfire.” The international community still holds its breath, as the world waits for the U.S. to mitigate peace with direct engagement, as was noted in an opinion piece by The Washington Post.