New incident at the Armenian-Azerbaijani border highlights Armenia's defense shortcomings
Tensions have once again escalated at the Armenian-Azerbaijani border. On June 26, armed Azerbaijani servicemen entered the territory of Armenia and threatened the residents of Tekh village of Syunik region. Human rights defender Arman Tatoyan later stated they tried to prohibit the peasants from collecting the cut grass.
As a result, local residents managed to collect the grass only the next day, when the leadership of the first army corps of the Armenian Armed Forces, volunteers, as well as heads of local self-government bodies arrived at the scene of the incident.
Syunik is the southern region of Armenia. After the second Karabakh war, the border with Azerbaijan has been increased in this region, and a number of incidents have been occurring there ever since. However, the situation became especially tense on May 12, when the Azerbaijani Armed Forces advanced several kilometers deep into the sovereign territory of Armenia in several directions and refused to retreat despite Armenia’s repeated demands. Since then, Azerbaijan has been insisting on the earliest possible demarcation of the border.
According to security expert Tigran Abrahamyan, in these conditions, the main problem for Armenia is the lack of defense systems.
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Details of the incident
On the Facebook page of the Tekh community, the villagers stated that they wanted to clear the grass cut on June 24 at the Andrun Karer site, which is located near the border villages of Teh, Aravus and Khnatsakh. However, Azerbaijani soldiers descended from their positions and ordered them to leave.
According to Nerses Shadunts, the head of the village of Tekh, servicemen of the First Army Corps and volunteers helped local residents to clean the grass:
“We stood on our line and did not leave until the villagers collected the cut grass”.
Armenian Human Rights Defender Arman Tatoyan provided details of the incident. As it turned out, the local residents went “to the land plot, which belongs to them by right of ownership”. The incident occurred when people were already 300 meters from the Azerbaijani post. At that moment, according to the Ombudsman, five “clearly aggressive soldiers” approached them:
“Having stopped at a distance of 150 meters, they directed their weapons towards the villagers and began to threaten, shout, not allowing them to collect grass. Then two of them approached the villagers and demanded that they do not come to this territory at all and do not try to use this land. “
“This crime against the citizens of Armenia was committed by Azerbaijani servicemen in the sovereign territory of the Republic of Armenia. The actions of the Azerbaijani servicemen are aimed at depriving civilians of the right to life, the opportunity to engage in cattle breeding, and earn money to support their families.
This incident once again confirms that in order to protect the population of Armenia from the criminal actions of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces, it is urgent to create a security zone”, the office of the Human Defender of Armenia has concluded.
Security expert, head of the Anaket analytical center Tigran Abrahamyan assesses the situation as follows:
“The threats of Azerbaijanis against our compatriots who carry out agricultural work in the areas adjacent to the villages of Tekh, Aravus, Khnatsakh have become the subject of discussion in various contexts. There is one important factor here, which, in my opinion, is the cornerstone.
The main problem continues to be the lack of the necessary defense systems.
This is not so much about the physical presence of our servicemen, but about the viability and effectiveness of the system and its various components in general.
The behavior, aggression, threats of Azerbaijanis, if the necessary systems were in place, would be officially recorded and not via civilian reports, publications or phone calls.
This demonstrates that settlements that have found themselves in the status of borderlands due to new realities continue to remain vulnerable and the government is not taking effective steps to protect them”.