- The water crisis risk to human settlements of Azerbaijan during new conflict.
- It is, however, vital that the progress on regional water accessibility is not stalled, because of the high stakes of the crisis which it already is faced with.
- Should escalations be pushed all the way over into wartime status, then water will become a weapon of control.
At around 6 AM on September 27, the Armenian armed forces violated the ceasefire and intensively fired on the positions of the Azerbaijani Army in the frontline using large caliber machine guns and sniper rifles. This appears to be another deliberate and targeted provocation by the Armenian armed forces manifested in opening fire on the civilians densely populated in the front-line areas and civil facilities.
Due to the provocation of Armenian invading forces, there are casualties among the civilian population and military personnel of Azerbaijan. Many houses and civil facilities were severely damaged. Starting from September 27, the center of Azerbaijan’s Tartar district, including densely populated villages have been under heavy artillery fire by the Armenian armed forces beginning from around 7 am morning.
The city police station, a courthouse and civilian facilities of Tartar district are chosen as targets. This once again shows the ugly face of Armenian fascism. As a result of Armenian shelling the whole family (5 persons) was killed in Naftalan, including 13 years old boy Shahriyar Gurbanov and 14 years old girl Fidan Gurbanova.
The command of the Azerbaijani Army decided to launch a counter-offensive operation of Azerbaijani troops along the entire front to suppress the combat activity of the Armenian armed forces and ensure the safety of the civilian population. The Azerbaijani army continues to counterattack in various positions of the front. As a result of the counter-attacks, a number of territories were liberated.
The risk of all-out conflict has erupted once more down the entire front of conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
The clashes of September 26 followed the clashes of the previous week, which Daily Sabah reported resulted in an Azerbaijani casualty. The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry reported that this attack, which was reported on September 21, violated the ceasefire in the Tovuz region thereby increasing the tensions that had developed over the summer months. Daily Sabah had reported a rash of drone sightings and destruction in the region as well, as the Azerbaijani forces had detected drone technology flying in from the Armenian side of the borderline.
Tensions have erupted once again and generate an international fear that war will again launch in the region. Anadolu Agency reports that Turkey, within the last week, has warned Armenia strongly against continuing to “play with fire” in the region. Turkey’s foreign defense ministry has taken the position that Armenia’s occupation of Upper Karabakh is illegal. Now, with the ceasefire agreement having been violated again, twice within a week, the international community appears to brace for a heated escalation in the conflict zone.
ZeeNews reported that, in the immediate wake of renewed tensions, Turkey has deployed soldiers to the border shared between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Turkey has deployed Syrian fighters to this scene. The Syrian troops will fight against Armenia. While set to combat the illegal occupation of Azerbaijani territory, the world argues that the Turkish involvement now further endangers the fragility of human rights in this region. The presence of additional troops and traffic of military ordinance through the region would likely compromise the integrity of water bodies, increase the complexity of access to public water, and force groups of diaspora to relocate around a renewed occupation.
Likewise, Armenia has been reported, over the course of the last few weeks, to be in the process of constructing illegal canals in the region that are under Armenian ownership, see AzerNews. This construction limits the construction opportunities that Azerbaijan would have to cut new access points.
Therefore, the immediate concern for civilian life in the wake of the Armenian offensive and the foreign countermeasures is water. In the previous years of the conflict, the ordinance of war and the embargo at the border has caused Azerbaijani to lose vital access to the border-region Sarsang Reservoir, among other reservoirs.
Water had been on the agenda before the Tovuz region clash. AzerNews reported that the status of water shortages was on the docket to be discussed as of July 3. A session was held by the Committee for Natural Resources, Energy and Environment of the Parliament. It was held to discuss the water shortage problems in Azerbaijan that were already documented as current and high risk as of July 2020. Now, as tensions boil in the wake of the U.N. General Assembly talks, where both sides failed to reach a compromise or agreement regarding establishing a resolution of disputed land conflicts, the water reservoir construction progress is in danger of falling to the background in the wake of international security preservation.
It is, however, vital that the progress on regional water accessibility is not stalled, because of the high stakes of the crisis which it already is faced with. Should escalations be pushed all the way over into wartime status, then water will become a weapon of control.
Mena FN reported on September 18 that this tactic of aggression has been used by Armenia in previous moments of the conflict. MenaFN, citing AzerNews, noted that a trend of inflammatory rhetoric from Armenia, coupled with illegal activity in Azerbaijani territory, was discussed at the UN General Assembly at that date. The UN General Assembly and Security Council was presented with a letter and documents from Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Ceyhun Bayramov detailing the depth of Armenian aggression and the risk to civilians in the wake of it. The ministry concluded that the continued systematic belligerence of Armenia had compromised natural resources, the most precious of which is public water for the straggling lines of diaspora trapped in the conflict zone.