Azerbaijan’s native places devastated by Armenian occupiers – Photo evidence

AZERTAC film crew reveals images from Fuzuli city, Minjivan settlement of Zangilan district and Boyuk Marjanli village of Jabrayil district

Baku, April 23, AZERTAC

Year 2020 went down in history as a glorious for Azerbaijan. As a result of the 44-day Patriotic War led by our wise President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Ilham Aliyev, Karabakh was liberated from occupation and an end was put to our people's longing for the homeland. After 30 years of occupation of Jabrayil, Gubadli, Zangilan, Fuzuli, Agdam, Kalbajar, Lachin districts, Shusha and Hadrut, as well as in hundreds of villages and settlements, the tricolor Azerbaijani proudly flies there again. The more gratifying the return of our territories, the more heartbreaking it is to see those places.

Although it was known in advance that the enemy had wreaked havoc in the occupied territories, the scale of the tragedy was unimaginable. We look and see now: Armenian occupiers have destroyed the entire infrastructure, destroyed our cities, settlements and villages. The whole world sees what savagery the Azerbaijani people were faced with. There have been many wars in the history of mankind but nowhere has there been so much cruelty and so much hostility. Such atrocities were unseen even during World War II, religious and historical sites were not destroyed. The deplorable situation in Karabakh shows that Armenian fascism is the most ugly and cruel of all fascisms in all countries.

President Ilham Aliyev described the situation in the liberated lands at a press conference for local and foreign media on 26 February: “You drive hundreds of kilometers and see only destroyed villages, there is not a single sound building left. There is not a single building in Agdam. There is only a partially destroyed mosque, which the Armenians used as a landmark and an observation post to correct fire... There is not a single building in Fuzuli. There was not even a place to hoist a flag... The situation is the same in Jabrayil. There are several houses left in Zangilan and Gubadli, and they were used in illegal settlements.”

The unimaginable atrocities committed by the enemy, the immeasurable destruction have been documented and recorded by the photo lens. AZERTAC's film crew is also closely involved in this work. Filming has been going on in Aghdam, Fuzuli, Jabrayil, Zangilan and Khojavand districts for several months. The group, which includes a journalist, a photographer and a cameraman, travels from a village to village, from a neighborhood to neighborhood, from one street to another, from one house to another, filming traces of Armenian atrocities and recording the extent of destruction.

In fact, words are a weapon and journalists soldiers during war. Building on this principle, AZERTAC has mobilized all its creative and technical potential from the early hours of the second Karabakh war, worked 24/7 to regularly cover the course of hostilities, convey the truth about the conflict and information about the enemy's war crimes to the world community. From day one, our correspondents commissioned to the war zone prepared photo and video reports from the regions liberated by the glorious Azerbaijani Army and circulated them the world over.

Our crews at the frontline filmed Armenian provocations putting their lives at risk. In particular, they prepared thousands of photos and videos, reports and stories about the treacherous attacks of the Armenian armed forces on the civilian population and the shelling of settlements. These materials, prepared directly from the scene, were published on the AZERTAC web-site in seven foreign languages.

After the war ended, the film crew of AZERTAC switched its focus to filming the destruction. We have been working in the liberated territories for more than six months. The goal is to document all every single case of destruction and the damage inflicted by the enemy on the people of Azerbaijan. The state of Azerbaijan intends to take Armenia to international courts for these crimes. The materials collected in this manner can also be used as irrefutable evidence.

The following are some of the photos our film crew sent in from Fuzuli, Zangilan and Jabrayil districts. The scenes depicted need no an explanation. As President Ilham Aliyev said, it is as if a savage tribe has swept through these places.

Fuzuli city without a single sound building left

One of the places destroyed by the enemy is the city of Fuzuli. The city of Fuzuli, which borders on Jabrayil, Khojavand, Aghjabadi, Beylagan districts and Iran along the Araz River, was occupied by Armenian armed forces in 1993. The glorious Azerbaijani Army liberated the city of Fuzuli on 17 October 2020.

Speaking about the heartbreaking sights he saw along the way during his visit to Fuzuli on 16 November last year, President Ilham Aliyev said: “We have returned to Fuzuli. But it hurts to see the destroyed villages and the city of Fuzuli along the road. Look what the savages did to our city! They have destroyed everything, they have destroyed houses, they have destroyed the entire infrastructure, there is not a single safe building. The whole world should see what the Armenian savagery is all about. And we will show it to the whole world. Not only Fuzuli, but also Aghdam and other cities. It is as if a savage tribe has swept through these lands.”

It is also clear from the photos that the enemy did not leave a single building in Fuzuli. All historical, cultural and architectural sites, caves and mounds, tombstones have been barbarically destroyed or looted.

Historical memory: Before the occupation, the city of Fuzuli had a population of 18,965 people. In other words, it was home to 4,741 families. There were 3,487 courtyard houses, 62 residential buildings, five hospitals, three underground water pipes, seven historical sites, 19 schools and 10 kindergartens in the city. There were also a culture house, two clubs, four libraries, five music schools, a history and ethnography museum, a technical vocational school, a taxi terminal, a cocoon reception station, an ancient bath, an outdoor cinema, a statue of Fuzuli, a building of the “Araz” newspaper, the 17th century Haji Alakbar mosque, a monument to Aghabala Abdullayev, a culture center, a central market, a textile factory, an eye hospital and other buildings in the city. There are no traces of them now. Residents of Fuzuli may try to find their street, neighborhood or house in these photos. Unfortunately, there is nothing to see but a pile of stones...

What is left of the strategically located Minjivan settlement

The photos depicting the current state of Minjivan settlement, one of the largest settlements in Zangilan, were taken in April this year. Apparently, there is not a single safe building there. However, located in a strategically important position on the main railways and highways, Minjivan was once distinguished by its unique appearance. The Julfa-Horadiz-Sarijalar-Osmanli railway used to pass through the settlement. After the occupation of the district by Armenia, the Minjivan railway station also ceased its operations. Later it was completely destroyed by Armenians.

Historical memory: Before the occupation, there were 995 houses and ancillary buildings in Minjivan settlement. More than 4,600 people lived in the settlement, which covers an area of 1,254 hectares. There were 266 hectares of arable land, 14 hectares of hayfields, 15 hectares of mulberry orchards and 105 hectares of vineyards. The settlement was also home to about 20 office buildings, three schools, three kindergartens, four libraries, two culture houses, two post offices, two reservoirs, as well as a music school, a chemical association, a grain warehouse, a hospital, a mosque and other buildings, which have been destroyed or looted by the Armenian army. In addition, a railway hospital, an ancient bathhouse, an indoor and outdoor cinema, a commandant's office of the Minjivan border post of the State Border Service are among the demolished buildings.

Occupying Armenia has also committed environmental terror in Karabakh. The deforestation of a rare sycamore forest in Zangilan is further evidence of this. Covering a large area in the Basitchay river basin, this centuries-old sycamore forest is the second largest in the world and the biggest in Europe. Due to its natural climate, underground resources, fertile lands and mysterious nature, the region is called “Golden Zangilan”. Minjivan, occupied by Armenia in October 1993, was liberated on 21 October 2020.

Reconstruction work has now begun in the liberated areas. According to the order of President Ilham Aliyev, the first “smart village” project will be implemented in Zangilan. The project will cover three villages – the villages of Aghali 1, 2 and 3. Preparations are underway for the groundbreaking ceremony.

There will soon come a day when the lands, once destroyed by the enemy, will turn into “smart” villages and cities, and life will return to the region.

Boyuk Marjanli village with nothing left of it

The photos sent in by the AZERTAC's film crew from the Boyuk Marjanli village also show unparalleled destruction. One of the largest villages of Jabrayil District, Boyuk Marjanli, is located in the southeast of the Lesser Caucasus Mountains, in the Karabakh range.

Historical memory: Before the occupation, there were 863 houses in the village. the village with a population of more than 3,500 people had two schools, a hospital and a medical center, a club, a library, a railway station, a stadium, agricultural facilities, a mill, a household service center, a furniture store and other facilities. Now there is nothing left of any of that now. As can be seen from the photos, the scale of destruction is immeasurable.

The village of Boyuk Marjanli, occupied by the Armenian army on 23 August 1993, was liberated 27 years later, on the first day of the Patriotic War – on 27 September 2020.

The photos show only a small part of Armenian vandalism. Foreign journalists and diplomats visiting the liberated areas have seen the devastation and barbarism with their own eyes. They have seen what kind of an enemy Azerbaijan has been facing for 30 years. Azerbaijan has restored historical justice, the integrity of its lands and written a history that will always be remembered by the Patriotic War. At the same time, the crimes committed by the enemy against Azerbaijan will not be forgotten or go unpunished. This photo evidence, which also bears witness to these crimes, will also carry our blood memory from one generation to another, from one century to another.

As President Ilham Aliyev has said with great confidence and determination, our lands destroyed by the enemy, as well as the city of Fuzuli, Minjivan settlement and the village of Boyuk Marjanli, will soon become a paradise. The world will once again witness the determination of the Azerbaijani people to build, the strength and power of the Azerbaijani state.

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