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Significant Cache of Weapons and Military Equipment Found in Karabakh Region

By Yaver Kazimbeyli February 29, 2024

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The automatic rifles found in the basement of a kindergarten in Khankendi, Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, February 27, 2024 / Azertag

The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Azerbaijan announced on Tuesday the revelation of a significant cache of weapons and military equipment in the city of Khankendi, in the Karabakh (Garabagh) region. The arms depot, abandoned by illegal Armenian armed formations that were previously dispatched here, was discovered in the basement of a kindergarten during an operation conducted by the ministry’s employees.

The discovered items include 1 drone and 1 tripod for the drone, 29 various models of automatic rifles, 4 pistols, 27 rifles, 416 grenades, 113 incendiaries and 113 explosives, 1,178 cartridge clips, 8,508 bullets, and 24,320 cartridges of various calibers, 30 detonators, 3 optical sights, 10 night vision devices, and 4 binoculars, 50 communication devices, 34 bayonet-knives, 57 anti-gas masks, and other ammunition.

This operation ensured the safety of the local population, demonstrating the ongoing efforts of law enforcement agencies to maintain peace and security in the region.

Khankendi was held under Armenian occupation for over three decades following the outbreak of the First Karabakh War between 1991 and 1994. The city came under Armenia's unlawful occupation following a large-scale invasion by Armenian forces into Azerbaijani territory in 1991. This conflict represented the peak of an extensive anti-Azerbaijani movement that began in Armenia in the late 1980s, ultimately leading to the forced expulsion of hundreds of thousands of ethnic Azerbaijanis from their homes.

Armenia launched full-blown military aggression against Azerbaijan following the Soviet Union’s dissolution in 1991. The bloody war lasted until a ceasefire in 1994 and saw Armenia occupying 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s internationally recognized territories. Over 30,000 Azerbaijanis were killed, and one million were expelled from those lands in a brutal ethnic cleansing campaign conducted by Armenia.

On September 27, 2020, the decades-old conflict took a violent turn after Armenia’s forces deployed in the occupied Azerbaijani lands shelled military positions and civilian settlements of Azerbaijan. During the counter-attack operations that lasted 44 days, Azerbaijani forces liberated about 300 settlements, including the cities of Jabrayil, Fuzuli, Zangilan, Gubadli, and Shusha, from nearly 30 years of illegal Armenian occupation. The war ended in a tripartite statement signed on November 10, 2020, by Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia. Under the statement, Armenia also returned the occupied Aghdam, Kalbajar, and Lachin districts to Azerbaijan.

Russia, as part of the statement, deployed a peacekeeping contingent to parts of the Karabakh region, including Khankendi. The peacekeepers were also charged with the responsibility of ensuring the withdrawal of Armenian military forces from the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan.

Despite clear directives for the Armenian forces to withdraw from the Karabakh region, a significant number of troops remained stationed in Khankendi and other areas such as Khojaly, Aghdara, Khojavand, and Asgaran. The peacekeepers have not succeeded in enforcing this withdrawal, despite their obligations to do so. Since 2020, the Armenian army formations committed dozens of provocations, causing loss of life on the Azerbaijani side.

On September 19, 2023, Azerbaijani forces launched anti-terror measures in the Karabakh region in response to increasing Armenian attacks, including fatal mine incidents. They disabled Armenian military infrastructure, seizing strategic positions by September 20. The Defense Ministry emphasized targeting only military objectives, safeguarding civilians. On September 20, the illegal Armenian separatist regime requested cessation of anti-terror activities through Russian peacekeepers. Later, on September 28, the separatist regime dissolved, urging Armenian residents to consider reintegration terms.

On October 15, 2023, President Aliyev hoisted the state flag in the city of Khankendi in Karabakh region.