First Anniversary of Azeri Surprise Attack Marked


Several of the dead from the 2016 attack

STEPANAKERT (Combined Sources) — President of Armenia, Commander-in-Chief Serzh Sargsyan, visited Artsakh to mark the anniversary of the Azeri attacks last year. Accompanied by President of Artsakh Bako Sahakian, ministers of defense of Armenia and Artsakh and high ranking military officials visited one of the military regiments of the Army of Defense, he familiarized with the combat readiness of the troops and attended the concert organized for the servicemen at the drill ground of the regiment.

At the conclusion of the concert, Sargsyan handed a high state award – Combat Service Medal to a group of servicemen for their valor and courage in defending the borders of Fatherland, handed presents to them and parents of those soldiers whose families sent two or more soldiers to the Armenian Army and who carried out their duty with dedication.

The President of Armenia expressed gratitude to the defenders of the Homeland and wished them safe term of duty.

The Defense Ministry of Artsakh Republic on April 2 announced that the Azerbaijani forces violated the ceasefire regime more than 35 times across the Artsakh-Azerbaijan line of contact. The ministry issued a statement saying: “On April 1 and overnight April 2 the Azerbaijani side violated the ceasefire regime more than 35 times by firing more than 330 shots from various caliber small arms at the Armenian positions in the Artsakh-Azerbaijan line of contact. The Defense Army forces of Artsakh are in full control of the situation in the frontline and continue confidently conducting the military service.”

Marking the anniversary, Arsine Khanjian, Serj Tankian, Atom Egoyan and Eric Nazarian visited Artsakh and urged artists and those in cultural fields from around the world to visit Artsakh and support the people there who continue to write, compose, play and paint even when they are isolated from the world because of the war.

They released the following statement: “On these days a year ago, the Artsakh contact line again flared up when the Azerbaijani armed forces —in a sudden offensive — fired not only the frontline positions but also peaceful residents, schools and unarmed residents. The Artsakh self-defense forces calmed this aggression for the twentieth time, the only result being new human and material losses on both sides. Since 1988 or the day when Artsakh or Nagorno-Karabakh people decided to create their own fate and exercise their right to free self-determination, having overcome the bitter spirit of the Soviet Union and international laws, Azerbaijan has been opposing this by displacements, attacks and large-scale military actions. However, despite all this the Artsakh people have been able to defend its ancestral lands, organize an independence referendum and establish a state.

On this historical land parcel, where there is more news on ceasefire violations, victims and wounded than any other information, thousands of children are deprived of their fair right to create, since the country remains blocked, the ceasefire being fragile. Thousands of gifted people are obliged to take weapons instead of a pen and brush and go to the front to defend their homes and homeland.  Because of the Azerbaijani attacks and these forced attacks, these youths are deprived of the right to create and discover their talents. Numerous pupils living in border settlements listen to the sounds of exploding bombs and firing instead of songs and music.

But despite this, there are lots of artists, who continue to write, create, play music and paint. They are in blockade because of the war, unfortunately having very little opportunity to communicate with their colleagues worldwide. The blockade and isolations reduce the mutual visits, communication and exchange of experience. The opportunities of opening themselves to the world and knowing each other are limited for these creative talents.”