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Turkish-Backed Azerbaijan Targets Armenian Civilians Near Captured Shushi

11/09/2021 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that November 8, 2021, Azerbaijani troops opened gunfire on a group of Armenian utility workers repairing water pipes near the city of Shushi, which was captured during the Turkish-Azeri war last year against Nagorno-Karabakh (Armenian: Artsakh). The incident occurred on the same day that Azeri President Ilham Aliyev was in Shushi alongside Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar to mark the one-year anniversary of the invasion’s ceasefire.

It occurred near the Lachin-Stepanakert Road, the only transit option connecting Karabakh’s Armenian Christian community with the outside world. The road was temporarily closed following the incident. Most of Nagorno-Karabakh’s land was lost during the war, and now residents are surrounded by Turkish-Azeri forces. This is the second citizen killed since last year’s ceasefire, with the first being murdered in front of Russian peacekeepers this past October.

“The recorded incident is another proof of the anti-Armenian, genocidal and fascist behavior of the Azerbaijani side towards the Armenian people, about which we have stated many times since the signing of the trilateral statement,” said Gegham Stepanyan, Artsakh’s Human Rights Ombudsman.

“Today, at around 3:00 p.m., near the city of Shushi, the Azerbaijani side fired at Armenian civilians working on water pipes in the area. One civilian killed, three wounded,” said local journalist Anush Ghavalyan. “This is how Azerbaijan’s President Aliyev brings peace to the region—by killing civilians of Nagorno-Karabakh. No people, no conflict.”

Speaking about the recent escalation of Turkish-Azeri aggression towards Artsakh’s Armenian Christian residents, a Stepanakert local shared simply, “This is hell… we don’t know what will happen.”

The deceased is 22-years old. The wounded civilians are 43, 41, and 31 years old.

The incident comes just days after the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom released a factsheet reiterating its recommendations for State Department CPC and SWL designations. Both Turkey and Azerbaijan were named on the factsheet as recommendations for the Special Watch List (SWL).

Claire Evans, ICC’s Regional Manager for the Middle East, said, “The escalation of violence toward Armenian civilians living in Nagorno-Karabakh is very alarming. These incidents give further evidence of how Azerbaijan has embraced Turkey in such a way that both countries are emboldened and empowered to commit genocidal atrocities towards Armenian Christians. They intend to intimidate those who remain living in Karabakh, suffocating them with forced isolation from the outside world. Turkey and Azerbaijan have made it clear in their rhetoric that their actions are viewed as a continuation of the 1915 genocide against Christians. The ceasefire may have been established a year ago, but the cleansing activities of the invasion continue to this very day.”[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1636470165603{margin-bottom: 0px !important;}”]