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The Azerbaijani Armed Forces have been developing their advance on Armenian positions in the contested Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Recently, they captured 13 more villages in the Jabrayil district. The capturing of Soltanli, Amirvarli, Mashanli, Hasanli, Alikeykhanli, Gumlag, Hajili, Goyarchinveysalli, Niyazgullar, Kechal Mammadli, Shahvalli, Haji Ismayilli, Isagli was personally announced by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. Azerbaijani forces also reached the town of Tumas and engaged Armenian units deployed there. Pro-Azerbaijani sources insist that the town fell into the hands of Baku already.
Weapons and ammunition captured by Azerbaijani forces:
The country’s defense ministry claims that in the recent clashes that Azerbaijani forces destroyed a number of enemy troops, and at least 2 T-72 tanks, 2 BM-21 “Grad” MLRS, 1 D-30, and 1 D-20 gun-howitzers, and 11 auto vehicles.
On October 19, pro-Armenian sources for the first time provide a video evidence that they had shot down at least one of Bayraktar TB2 combat drones operated by the Azerbaijani military and Turkish specialists. Meanwhile, the Armenian Defense Ministry claimed that 5 unmanned aerial vehicles were shot down during the evening of that day only.
According to the Armenian side, the total number of Azerbaijani casualties in the war reached 6,259. 195 UAVs, 16 helicopters, 22 military planes, 566 armoured vehicles, 4 multiple rocket launchers of the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan were allegedly destroyed.
A part of the allegedly downed Bayraktar-TB2 drone:
Yerevan claims that Armenian forces have repelled two powerful attacks in the northern part of Karabakh, while intense fighting has been ongoing in the south. Nonetheless, Armenian military officials avoid confirming the recent Azerbaijani advances and insist that the recent developments are just a part of the modern maneuverable warfare.
By these claims, the political leadership of Armenia tries to hide that the Azerbaijani advance along the Iranian border faced little resistance. The Azerbaijani progress was mostly complicated by a limited number of mobile Armenian units, which were avoiding a direct confrontation and focusing on ambushes and mine warfare. According to reports, the Armenian side is now reinforcing its positions in the area of the Akari River seeking to prevent the further Azerbaijani advance towards the Armenian state border and the Lachin corridor. On the other hand, the goal of the Azerbaijani-Turkish bloc is to overcome this resistance and to develop the current momentum to reach the Lachin mountain pass thus threatening to cut off the shortest route between Armenia and the Republic of Artsakh. In the event of the success, this would predetermine the Azerbaijani victory in the war.
Taking into account the advantage of the Azerbaijani-Turkish bloc in manpower, artillery, heavy military equipment and, the most important, their air dominance, Armenian forces have a limited number of options to repel the ongoing attack into the heart of the Nagorno-Karbakh region.
In the coming weeks, Armenian forces will likely increase engineering works on their main defense lines simultaneously conducting regular counter-attacks with maneuverable units on the advancing Azerbaijani forces. In these conditions, ambushes, mine warfare, anti-tank guided missile strike and sniper work will be the main weapons of the Armenian side. Armenian units will also avoid a direct confrontation with overwhelming forces of Azerbaijan to avoid additional ‘not needed’ casualties.
It should be noted that the mountainous terrain will play into the hands of the Armenians. If they are able to create a network of fortified points surrounded by mine fields and employ the needed counter-drone measures (by deploying additional air-defense means and increasing the work to cover positions of its artillery and logistical points), they will increase their chances to slow down or even stop the Azerbaijani advance in the most important directions.
Armenian forces strike advancing Azerbaijani units:
Azerbaijani troops are in Mataghis:
The military hostilities are ongoing amid another round of the international diplomatic efforts to de-escalate the situation and return the sides to the negotiating table. President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan declared that they are ready to meet in Moscow. The Azerbaijani leader even said that his country is ready to halt the operation if Armenia demonstrates a constructive approach. Nonetheless, the ‘constructive approach of Armenia’ in the view of Azerbaijan is the full and public surrender of Karabakh. Such an agreement will mark the collapse of the current political leadership of Armenia and unlikely to be accepted. Therefore, the war will likely continue until the military victory of one of the sides and this side would likely be Azerbaijan. Baku has already achieved an impressive breakthrough on the frontline if one compares the current situation with local military escalations of the previous years.
As to Armenia, it will not likely be able to turn the tide of the conflict if it continues limiting its response to indirect support of forces of the Republic of Artsakh instead of a direct military action to repel the Azerbaijani-Turkish bloc. Clashes of the previous weeks already demonstrated that Baku has an upper hand in the current format of the military standoff in Karabakh. Therefore, if Yerevan really wants to change something, it should change the rules of the game even if this would create additional risks for Armenia itself.
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