21 Civilians Killed During Armenian Strikes on Barda
The latest wave of Armenian missile strikes on Barda on October 28 claimed the lives of 21 Azerbaijani civilians and wounded up to 70 others, according to the Azerbaijani General Prosecutor’s Office. In addition, significant damage was caused to the city’s infrastructure and vehicles.
The Azerbaijan Mine Clearance Agency (ANAMA) reported that the Armenians fired on Barda using a 9M525 rocket launched using the Russian-built Smerch rocket system.
Hikmet Hajiyev, aide to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, described the the shelling of Barda as “an act of genocide”, undertaken by the Armenian political and military leadership against the peaceful population of Azerbaijan.
Hajiyev also commented on Twitter: “Following missile attacks on Terter, the armed forces of Armenia fired rockets on Barda. No lessons have been learned from yesterday’s killing of civilians with cluster weapons. Armenia must end its military occupation and war crimes. Such deliberate war crimes by Armenia are deplorable.”
He described the victims as “innocent civilians” and continued: “Armenia used cluster munitions to inflict excessive casualties among civilians. This is a policy of state terror by Armenia. We invite Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International to conduct an on-site assessment of such crimes by Armenia.”
RIA Novosti reported that Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General, was adamant in his remarks: “We condemn in the strictest terms all attacks on populated areas affected by the conflict, including strikes on the city of Barda, as a result of which, as reported, many were killed and injured. There can be no excuse for such attacks… The ongoing hostilities are unacceptable and must be stopped immediately.”
Bob Blackman MP, Head of the Azerbaijan All-Party Parliamentary Group in the UK Parliament, resoundingly condemned the attack: “I was deeply sadden to hear about the latest of Armenia’s deliberate and indiscriminate attacks on the civilian population of Azerbaijan with prohibited weaponry. These attacks are blatant violation of international humanitarian law, including Geneva Conventions and without doubt constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Perhaps, this is what the Prime Minister of Armenia had in mind when he said that the conflict had “no diplomatic solution”. It is clear for all to see that these attacks became even violent and deadlier after Armenia’s Defence Minister visited and personally took over the operations in Nagorno-Karabakh.
“This latest attack is the continuation of the genocide by Armenia against Azerbaijanis which started back in 1992 in Khojaly where 613 civilians, including old men, women and children, were massacred in one of late 20th century’s most brutal and horrific attacks.”
Writing on Twitter, Bilal Hayee, Pakistani Ambassador to Azerbaijan, commented:
“Painful news of multiple civilian casualties coming from the Barda city of Azerbaijan. Reports of use of prohibited weapons are deplorable and deserve condemnation in unambiguous manner. Stay strong Azerbaijan.”
His thoughts were re-echoed by a spokesman for the Turkish Foreign Ministry, who stated: “We condemn these heinous attacks that Armenia continues against the civilian people without differentiating between children, young or old. This perfidious policy that Armenia conducts to terrorise and kill civilians is the expression of the sick mindset that lies behind the Khojaly Massacre.
“This latest attack has taken its place as a record of shame in the war crimes list for which Armenia will be held responsible.” It concluded by calling on the international community, including the OSCE Minsk Group, tasked with establishing a negotiated end to the conflict, to show the necessary reaction to Armenian aggression.