STEPANAKERT — The bodies of the dead Azeri soldiers were evacuated from the no man’s land at about 17:00 on February 27, under an agreement reached between the parties with the mediation of the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICTC), Artsakh Defense Ministry reports.
Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry officially confirmed on Monday that at least five Azerbaijani soldiers were killed by Armenian forces over the weekend in what was the worst fighting around Nagorno-Karabakh in almost a year.
The ministry identified all of them and also effectively acknowledged that they died in the no-man’s land on the Karabakh “line of contact.”
According to Azerbaijani media reports, one of those servicemen, Aqsin Abdullayev, had the military rank of major. Karabakh Defense Army claimed earlier that Abdullayev was the chief of reconnaissance of an Azerbaijani army brigade.
The Karabakh Defense Army units repelled Azerbaijani attacks at two sections of the frontline early on Saturday. It said Azerbaijani commando units used demining equipment to try to seize its positions there but were pushed back, suffering significant casualties in the process. No Karabakh Armenian soldiers were killed or wounded in the fighting, it said.
The Azerbaijani military claimed, however, that it was the Armenians who attempted to capture more “beneficial positions.” It admitted combat deaths in within its ranks but did not specify their number until Monday morning.
The Karabakh Armenian army dismissed the Azerbaijani version of events, saying the fact that the bodies of the Azerbaijani soldiers were left lying in the no-man’s land only proves that they had gone on the offensive. It also released night-vision footage purportedly showing Azerbaijani troops coming under precise artillery fire while trying unsuccessfully to cross the frontline.