On October 3, Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan addressed the nation regarding the ongoing war with Azerbaijan and the current situation in the contested Nagorno-Karabakh region. He declared that high-ranking Turkish military personnel are in Azerbaijan and are leading the hostilities against the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (an Armenia-affiliated self-proclaimed state).
“According to our military, in addition to the Azerbaijani army units, Syrian mercenaries and terrorists, special units of the Turkish army are involved in the attacks. We have information that 150 high level Turkish military officers are in different Azerbaijani command centers and control the military operations. What I mentioned here show how fierce clashes are taking place on the frontline,” he said.
According to Pashinyan, the developments of the previous day showed that 150-200 soldiers of Azerbaijan attack every military position of the military of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (formally known as the Republic of Artsakh). These attacks are repeated several times during a day and are supported by missile and conventional artillery, armored vehicles, aircrafts and UAVs.
According to him, Nagorno-Karabakh has been fighting against “an Azerbaijani-Turkish terrorist attack, the volume and scale of which is unprecedented.” Pashinyan claimed that despite numerous casualties and losses of military equipment from the Karabakh side, “the enemy was unable to solve a single tactical problem,” and “intense fighting continues.”
“The resilience with which our soldiers, officers, generals and volunteers withstand this heinous attack is unbelievable. Our soldiers and volunteers spare nothing and demonstrate unimaginable acts of heroism. Today hundreds of armored vehicles, dozens of airplanes and helicopters, hundreds of UAVs of the adversary have already been destroyed. Manpower losses of the adversary are over a few thousands. AT this moment fierce clashes continue in different parts of the frontline, in some cases the Defense Army units have appeared in rather unfavorable situation, in other places confidently keep control of the situation,” Pashinyan said.
According to the Prime Minister of Armenia, “Turkey and Azerbaijan pursue not only military-political goals, there is not only the issue of territories.”
“Their goal is the Armenians, their goal is the continuation of the Armenian genocide,” he said.
According to Pashinyan, Armenia is “able to defend itself,” and the end of the current conflict can only be the victory of the Armenian side.
Meanwhile, in an interview with Al Jazeera, published on October 3, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev stated that his country cannot afford any more ‘futile’ negotiations with Armenia.
“We are not in a position to listen to statements like ‘Stop it, we will work [with you], we will negotiate, we will help.’ We have heard this many times. We do not have time to wait for another 30 years. The conflict must be resolved now,” he said adding that that the (military) settlement to the conflict with Armenia must be found “as soon as possible.”
Armenia and Azerbaijan are indeed in the state of de-facto war. The ongoing Armenian-Azerbaijani war has likely become the first military conflict of such a scale between two state actors of the comparable power. Even now, after the 6 days of war, it is already clear that the final number of casualties will be counted in thousands.
While so far the Azerbaijani side has in fact has not achieved any real breakthrough on the ground, the ongoing military confrontation has once again demonstrated a successful employment of the concept of the wide-scale usage of unmanned aerial vehicles: reconnaissance, aerial targets, loitering munitions and drones carrying bombs and missiles. This allow the Azerbaijani side, with an apparent help from Turkey, to successfully detect, uncover and strike Armenian artillery and fortified positions. Regardless the reality of Armenian claims about the supposed usage of Turkish F-16 jets to cover the employed UAVs, the Azerbaijani side gained a full control in the air dimension.
In own turn, the Armenian side had time to conduct an extensive engineering work preparing a wide network of fortified positions across the region. This allows Armenian forces to keep most of their positions despite the air dominance of Azerbaijan.
In the current format, the conflict has been developing under a more or less classic scenario with the consistent frontline, which Azerbaijani forces try to push and further. Nonetheless, their gains were limited and as of the fourth day of the war, it entered into the phase of artillery duels amid the Azerbaijani air campaign. Up to 80% of casualties of the both sides are a result of rocket, artillery or air strikes.
Nonetheless, forces of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republics and Armenian units (which Erevan calls ‘volunteers’) are an underdog in the event of the large-scale prolonged conflict with the Azerbaijani-Turkish bloc, even if Armenia openly enters the conflict. Therefore, the outcome of the war will significantly depend on the ability of Azerbaijan (with help from Turkey and its mercenaries/militants) to use its air and numerical advantage to develop the advance and make some gains while the regional diplomatic situation allows this.