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The Azerbaijani authorities aimed from the very beginning to completely de-Armenianize Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) so that people would have to leave the region, despite the thousand-year residence of their ancestors. Former Human Right Defender (Ombudsman) of Armenia Arman Tatoyan stated this during a panel discussion at the American University of Armenia.

Tatoyan reminded that Azerbaijan started its blockade policy in December 2022, when fake Azerbaijani environmental activists blocked Karabakh’s lifeline to Armenia.

"In fact, these were agents of the Azerbaijani authorities. As already mentioned in the report, these people had nothing to do with ecology, were funded either by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation or the [Azerbaijani president] Ilham Aliyev apparatus, and they were mostly former or current military personnel, as well as representatives of Turkey, as evidenced by the Turkish flag of some ‘eco-activists,’" Tatoyan emphasized.

He recalled that after the 2020 war, four large settlements remained Armenian, and the goal of the September 2023 military aggression by Azerbaijan was to isolate them from each other, to cut off the water supply systems, which happened in Nagorno-Karabakh capital Stepanakert, when people had to drink the water flowing from the mountains.

During the Azerbaijani siege, the people of Nagorno-Karabakh went on foot to other settlements to find food, and Azerbaijanis were using that circumstance to intensify panic among the population at the time of aggression. The aggression began during the day when people were at work, looking for food, children were at school, and families were separated and trying to find each other while in isolation.

Tatoyan presented the actions of the Azerbaijani forces in each district in detail on the maps, when the Azerbaijani military literally "squeezed" the population of each district and mostly drove them from one village to another on foot.

The Azerbaijanis closed all the exits of Stepanakert and occupied the entrances of the capital of Artsakh.

"There are well-known cases of deliberate execution of civilians by Azerbaijanis," Tatoyan emphasized, in particular.

"The aggression was accompanied by artillery strikes on settlements and roads," Tatoyan added.

According to him, during the military aggression of September 19-20, 2023, unlike the previous aggression, the Azerbaijani armed forces, following the instruction of the Azerbaijani authorities, did not distribute videos of their "feats", limiting themselves to short videos, which complicates the work of monitoring groups.

"Azerbaijan's policy towards both Artsakh and Armenia is identical. In the case of Artsakh, it is more demonstrative, but generally identical. Terror, including at the highest level, isolation of water sources. The same thing is happening in Vayots Dzor, Gegharkunik, and Syunik [Provinces of Armenia]; people's normal life has been disrupted," Tatoyan said.

In conclusion, he showed a video of the situation in Armenia’s Nerkin Hand village, surrounded by Azerbaijani troops, where in February Azerbaijan had fired at the Armenian positions, killing four servicemen.

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