This Week in Armenian History

The city of Aghdam in Soviet Azerbaijan became a center of anti-Armenian activity in 1988, and a strategic hub after the Karabagh war started. The Azerbaijani forces shelled permanently the capital of Karabagh, Stepanakert, and nearby towns from there.
To put an end to this daily torment, the leadership of the Armenian self-defense forces decided to liberate that historical Armenian territory. As archaeological excavations would prove years later, it was near Aghdam where Tigran the Great had founded one of the four cities named Tigranakert after him.
The preparations started on July 4, 1993, when the fighters of the defense area of Askeran went on the offense to neutralize the positions of Chukhurmahla, “Camel’s Back,” Khederlu, and others, which oversaw the proximity of Aghdam. At the end of the day, the four battalions had occupied the villages of Chukhurmahla, Khederlu, and Ahmedavar, the positions “Camel Back” and “Resting House,” and height 579.1.
On July 11, the fighters of Marduni cleansed the villages of Shelli and Kurdalar of enemy presence to silence the Azeri fire points. The Armenian fighters contained the enemy attack to recover the lost positions. Five days later, the Azeri infantry attacked in the direction of “Camel’s Back” and bombed the Armenian defensive positions of Shelli and Shahbulagh. The regiments of Askerani countered by neutralizing the fire points in the villages of Kizil, Kengerli, Talishlar, Mahsudlu, and Tarnayud, and height 610. The Armenian forces launched an offensive on the military station of Aghdam, which threatened the safety of Stepanakert in a more immediate way.
At first, on July 21, two groups of thirty fighters from the regiments led by V. Safarian and R. Hakobjanian executed a two-side attack and entered the villages of Kasumlu, Karadaghlu, and Poladlu, while the fighters of the group of central defense liquidated the fire points of Salbalu and nearby areas. The next day, the fighters of Askeran, divided into three groups, reached the Victory Monument in Aghdam proper.
There were bloody combats in different sectors of Aghdam on July 23. The enemy forces blew up factories and residential buildings during their retreat. The three regiments of Askeran attacked in different directions and the freedom fighters of defensive areas Central and Marduni entered the town from the southeast. The Armenian fighters overcame the enemy resistance and, after various operations, at the end of the day Aghdam and its surroundings were under the control of the Artsakh defense forces. This military operation eliminated the enemy bombing threat for Stepanakert, Askeran and surrounding villages.
After the occupation of Aghdam, the government of Azerbaijan submitted a ceasefire request to the authorities of Artsakh, and a temporary ceasefire was signed on July 25. The representatives of Artsakh and Azerbaijan convened to extend the ceasefire for seven more days on July 28, but the following day Azerbaijan refused to comply with its obligations and the war continued until the ceasefire of May 12, 1994, which continues to be in effect today, despite periodical Azerbaijani aggressions.
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