BAKU, Oct 31 — Azerbaijan State News Agency (AZERTAC) has made an appeal to the heads of agencies holding membership in international and regional news agencies on Armenia’s attacks committed against the city of Barda.
The document addressed to the members of the News Agencies World Congress (NAWC), European Alliance of News Agencies (EANA), the Organisation of Asia-Pacific News Agencies (OANA), the Union of OIC News Agencies (UNA) highlights the grave consequences of Barda tragedy, AZERTAC reported.
The appeal says: “The Armenian armed forces illegally deployed in the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan continue firing with destructive weapons at surrounding areas, as well as civilian facilities, towns and villages located far from the front line.
It said, on Oct 28, as a result of Armenia’s shelling of Barda city with cluster missiles banned by international law, 21 civilians, including children, women and the elderly were killed, 70 civilians were wounded and civilian infrastructure was severely damaged.
One day earlier, on Oct 27, in a similar attack on one of the villages of Barda district, five civilians, including a seven-year-old girl were killed, and lots of civilians were wounded.
As a result of the attacks on Azerbaijani towns and villages since Sept 27, in total, 90 civilians have been killed, 392 have been wounded, 2,500 private houses, and multi-apartment residential buildings, as well as more than 420 civilian facilities have been destroyed or severely damaged so far.
Of those killed, 11 were children, 27 women and 15 elderly. There are 14 infants, 36 children, 101 women and 45 elderly people among injured.
AZERTAC said although there are sufficient irrefutable facts and evidence, unfortunately, some international media outlets are still biased in their coverage of the conflict, no distinction is made between the aggressor and the sufferer from aggression.
“We call on you to be sensitive to Armenian attacks against the Azerbaijani civilian population, and to convey the truth about the conflict that has lasted for almost 30 years to communities of your countries,” it said.
AZERTAC is a vice-president of the Organisation of Asia-Pacific News Agencies (OANA), member of News Agencies World Council (NACO), European Alliance of News Agencies (EANA), and the Executive Council of the Union of OIC News Agencies (UNA).
The renewed intense military clashes that began on Sept 27 had resulted in the loss of lives, including civilians on both sides. Both Azerbaijan and Armenia have blamed each other for starting the fighting.
The protracted bitter conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia started in 1988 – three years before the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. In 1992, a full-scale war broke out between the two former Soviet states until a ceasefire signed in May 1994. In 1991, the ethnic Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh declared independence but the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR) is not recognised by any country in the world.
The mountainous enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding districts which constitute about 20 per cent of Azerbaijan’s territory are internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan, but is under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia.
In the past, the United Nations Security Council had adopted four resolutions, among others calling for the withdrawal of all occupying forces from the areas of Azerbaijan. The OSCE Minsk Group – co-chaired by France, Russia, and the US – was formed in 1992 to find a peaceful solution to the conflict, but to no avail.