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Azerbaijan Reveals Dismantling of Armenian Surveillance System During Anti-Terror Operation in Karabakh Region

By Yaver Kazimbeyli April 1, 2024

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Azerbaijani military discovered and neutralized surveillance equipment illegally positioned by the Armenian Armed Forces in Azerbaijan's Karabakh (Garabagh) region. / Azerbaijan Defense Ministry

Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry has reported significant findings during the 2023 anti-terror operation in the Karabakh (Garabagh) region. The military discovered and neutralized surveillance equipment illegally positioned by the Armenian Armed Forces across various locations including trenches, firing positions, support points, and permanent bases.

According to official statements, the Armenian military had strategically placed over 200 optoelectronic and observation cameras aimed at monitoring Azerbaijani forces and civilians. These devices, camouflaged using rudimentary techniques, spanned a 480-kilometer contact line, positioned at elevations ranging from 10-15 to 20-30 meters. The Azerbaijani Armed Forces deployed precision weaponry to dismantle this surveillance network.

The one-day local anti-terror operation, initiated on September 19, 2023, targeted illegal Armenian armed formations and their military infrastructure in response to escalating Armenian attacks on Azerbaijani positions. The decision followed fatalities caused by mine incidents in the Khojavand district, resulting in casualties among Azerbaijani law enforcement and civilian workers. Azerbaijani troops, stationed in the Aghdam district, also faced injuries due to the presence of Armenian armed formations in Azerbaijani territories, temporarily monitored by Russian peacekeeping forces.

Throughout the operation, the Azerbaijani military successfully disabled artillery systems, radio-electronic warfare equipment, military vehicles, ammunition depots, and strongholds of the Armenian armed formations in the Karabakh region. Social media footage displayed the destruction of Armenian military assets, including a Russian-made “TOR” multiple-launch rocket system and a “Mortira” electronic warfare system, in the city of Khankendi.

Colonel Anar Eyvazov, spokesperson for the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry, confirmed the capture of more than 90 strategic positions and combat posts, along with seven military vehicles, 4 mortars, one tank, and 2 infantry fighting vehicles. Eyvazov emphasized that the operation exclusively targeted valid military objectives, with no harm to civilian populations or infrastructure.

Preceding the anti-terror operation, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry disclosed Armenia’s extensive military presence in the Karabakh region since the 2020 war. This included over 10,000 armed forces, comprising tanks, armored vehicles, heavy artillery, radio-electronic warfare equipment, and mortars.

The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan traces back to Armenia’s military campaign initiated after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. The subsequent occupation of Azerbaijani territories by Armenia resulted in widespread casualties and displacement among Azerbaijani population. Over 30,000 Azerbaijanis were killed, nearly 4,000 went missing, and one million were expelled from those lands in a brutal ethnic cleansing campaign conducted by Armenia.

On September 27, 2020, the conflict escalated when Armenian forces in the occupied Azerbaijani lands shelled military positions and civilian settlements of Azerbaijan. In a counterattack that lasted 44 days, Azerbaijani forces liberated over 300 settlements, including the cities of Jabrayil, Fuzuli, Zangilan, Gubadli, and Shusha, effectively ending the nearly 30-year-long illegal Armenian occupation. The war concluded with a tripartite statement signed by Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia on November 10, 2020. Under this statement, Armenia also returned the occupied districts of Aghdam, Kalbajar and Lachin to Azerbaijan. 

Although the statement also called for an immediate withdrawal of the Armenian armed personnel from the Azerbaijani territories, Armenian armed personnel had persisted within Azerbaijani borders, defying calls for their withdrawal until 2023 local anti-terror operation.