Azerbaijani army enters Lachin: who's where in Karabakh - an overview
On December 1, Azerbaijani troops entered the Lachin region, adjacent to Nagorno-Karabakh.
This marks the end of the process of withdrawal of the Armenian armed forces from the three regions mentioned in the November 10 truce signed by the leaders of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia.
But the question of the settlements located along the Lachin corridor controlled by Russian peacekeepers remains open.
Azerbaijani army enters Lachin region
In the very first minutes after midnight on December 1, servicemen and military equipment of the Azerbaijani army entered the Lachin region.
A few days earlier, the Armenian armed forces left this territory.
Lachin district was the third in the list of three districts that were to be transferred to the Azerbaijani side under the terms of the trilateral agreement of November 10, signed by the presidents of Azerbaijan, Russia and the prime minister of Armenia.
On November 20, the Aghdam region was transferred to the Azerbaijani side, and on November 25, the Kalbajar region.
The Lachin corridor
The Lachin region differs from the two previous ones, transferred to the Azerbaijani side, in that the Lachin corridor passes through this territory.
This is the only road connecting the territory of Armenia with the city of Khankendi (Stepanakert), the center of Nagorno-Karabakh.
According to the terms of the trilateral agreement, the width of the ‘corridor’ is set at five kilometers. Observation posts of the Russian peacekeeping forces have been installed along the entire route.
Along this road, the Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh, who left this territory during the second Karabakh war, are returning to their homes, mainly in Khankendi (Stepanakert).
According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, as of November 30, over 25,000 refugees have returned to Karabakh from Armenia.
One of the less clear points of the trilateral agreement following the war in Nagorno-Karabakh is the issue of settlements, including the city of Lachin (Berdzor), located in the Lachin corridor.
Until the very last day, the Armenian population of these settlements hoped that the city and several villages would remain under the control of the Armenian authorities and peacekeeping forces.
However, on the last day they had to leave their homes.
According to Azerbaijani sources, on November 30, Russian peacekeepers removed the Armenian flag from the building of the Lachin municipality.
To Khankendi (Stepanakert) from Baku
After the transfer of the Aghdam region on November 20 to the Azerbaijani side and the clearance of roads in this territory, a direct connection was opened between the rest of Azerbaijan and the city of Khankendi (Stepanakert).
This allowed the Russian peacekeeping forces to change the route of delivery of servicemen and military equipment to the zone under their control in Karabakh.
According to the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan, since the last days of November, military equipment of the peacekeeping forces have been entering Azerbaijan from the northern border with Dagestan, passing border and customs control here and then being delivered by rail to Barda station.
From Barda, the peacekeeping forces, accompanied by the military police of the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry, reach Khankendi (Stepanakert).
Prior to that, the peacekeepers reached Karabakh through the territory of Armenia along the Lachin corridor.
Demining liberated territories
Specialists of the Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action (ANAMA) have begun clearing minefields and randomly placed explosive devices in the liberated territories.
According to representatives of the agency, it will take about three years to clear the settlements. And the entire area will be cleared of mines within the next 10-13 years.
Only after full mine clearance will it be possible to talk about the start of construction of houses and infrastructure facilities, as well as the settlement of territories that have come under the control of the Azerbaijani army.
Problem with logistics in Karabakh
The construction of a road from Fizuli region to the city of Shusha has started. The design of the construction of this 105 km long highway is being carried out in parallel with the construction of the road itself.
Now the only active road from Aghdam to Shusha passes through Khankendi (Stepanakert).
It is also planned to build a road to the Kalbajar region.
The only road to this area which came under the control of the Azerbaijani army during the war passes through the territory controlled by the Russian peacekeeping forces.
Also, after the transfer of the region to Azerbaijan, the Sotk-Kalbajar road, linking the territory of Armenia with Nagorno-Karabakh through the northern route, was closed.