President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and first lady Mehriban Aliyeva visited the liberated from occupation Gubadli and Zangilan districts.
Driving the car on the way to Gubadli, President Ilham Aliyev said:
-We are on the territory of Jabrayil district. We are on liberated lands. On the right are our villages destroyed by the Armenians. We are heading for Gubadli district.
Destroyed vineyards. All villages are destroyed. The poles on the left and right of the road were installed shortly after the lands were liberated.
All villages are destroyed. The enemy will be held accountable for these crimes. All our villages, historical and religious monuments have been destroyed by the enemy. The whole world should see it.
A memorial from Soviet times. It is a memorial for World War II. They have destroyed it too.
Another destroyed village.
First lady Mehriban Aliyeva: What is the name of the village?
President Ilham Aliyev: Goyerchin Veysalli village. It was destroyed by the Armenian fascists. Even the Nazis did not commit such atrocities during World War II. See what savage enemy we were facing, what evil forces we have defeated?! We have liberated our region and the Caucasus from fascists. We will restore all these villages. But, first of all, all the villages, all the destruction in them will be documented and registered.
We are driving through the territory of Zangilan district.
Babayli village. It is also in ruins.
There is not a single safe building. Have a look, all the buildings are destroyed. Old cemetery.
Beautiful views of Zangilan district, a pleasant place. We will restore it all. This is Uchunju Aghali village. It appears the Armenians lived here. But notice how they lived here. I have been saying that the Armenians live in poverty on the occupied territories and this is proof of that. They came to our village and destroyed most of it.
Our houses occupied by the Armenians. Residents of Uchunju Aghali village will probably recognize this house. They came here, occupies someone else's lands, left people homeless, lived in other people’s house, turned it into ruins and then claimed that this is the land of ancient Armenians. Fraudsters, thieves, liars and savages have kept our lands under occupation for almost 30 years. All these videos will be material evidence for our claims in the legal field.
Birinji Aghali village. It is destroyed too. But some houses survive. The Armenians lived in our houses. From now on, we will live in our own homes. Let them go and live in their homeland.
Selali village. This village is also destroyed. See what they have left behind. Even before the war I was saying that all our villages and cities had been looted. Armenians took away roofs, window frames and everything. They openly stole and exploited our lands.
They demolished half of the house and lived in the other half. Notice what they have left behind. Looters!
The savage enemy passed through these lands and destroyed them so that the people of Azerbaijan can never return here. Inshallah, we will all return. Everything is destroyed.
First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva: This is probably a military unit.
President Ilham Aliyev: The Azerbaijani flag has already been hoisted there. Military units were built to keep our lands under occupation forever, but we threw them out of here and expelled them from our lands. True landowners are returning here now.
Notice how they have cut down the trees. See what the wild enemy has done – it has cut down all the trees. Zangilan has a very rich nature and rare forests. Plane trees. See what the enemy has done. The whole world should see this. Who have the pro-Armenian forces defended to this day? Let the countries that have adopted resolutions against us have a look and open their eyes. Hypocritical politicians, open your eyes, have a look. Your parliaments have adopted resolutions. For us, these resolutions are of no importance, they are just a piece of paper. But the fact is that the accusations against us are baseless again. Members of the French Parliament, members of the Belgian and Dutch parliaments, have a look and see what did your dear Armenians have done to these lands? Look at the map, look up the encyclopedia and see which country Zangilan and Gubadli districts are part of. You are adopting resolutions. Let these resolutions be a curse for you. See who is accusing Azerbaijan!
Khanlig village of Gubadli. There were fierce battles for Khanlig village. The Armenians have given our historical ancient village an ugly name. Khanlig village is located on the territory of Gubadli district. We are now on the territory of Gubadli district. Armenians have built military fortifications and a military base for themselves in Khanlig village. Illegal settlement was carried out in Khanlig village. Armenians brought from abroad were settled here illegally. This is also a war crime. According to the Geneva Conventions, a country that illegally settles the occupied territories commits a crime. Have a look, a settlement was built in Khanlig for the Armenians from abroad with the money of the Armenians living abroad.
Agricultural equipment. Produced in the 1950s. The Armenians living abroad have committed a crime. The Armenians were brought here from abroad and settled on our lands. After demolishing the houses of the Azerbaijanis in Khanlig settlement, they built houses for the Armenians. This is an Armenian car. They were driving such cars. And these are the names of our heroic soldiers. They wrote their names on these houses. Bilasuvar, Shabran, Sabirabad, Shusha, Oguz. This is the answer to an illegal settlement. This is another of Armenian cars, have a look.
President Ilham Aliyev and first lady Mehriban Aliyeva arrived in Khanlig village of Gubadli, where Armenia had carried out a policy of illegal settlement, and met here with servicemen.
President Ilham Aliyev: Hello, guys.
Soldiers: Thank you!
President Ilham Aliyev: How are things, how are you?
Soldiers: Thank you very much!
President Ilham Aliyev: How is your service?
Soldiers: Excellent. Everything is good.
President Ilham Aliyev: Very good. This is a settlement built by the Armenians in our ancient village. Our houses were destroyed and then this settlement was built with the money of Armenians, who came from abroad. We are living here now. You are based here now, you are doing your service here. We have returned to our native lands. We have liberated these lands on the battlefield. We have driven the enemy out of our lands – thanks to soldiers like you. The whole world saw what Azerbaijani soldiers and Azerbaijani officers are capable of doing.
Come on, guys, come on here.
Soldiers: Welcome, Mr. President.
President Ilham Aliyev: Great to see you! This is our ancient land. Our people have lived on these lands for centuries.
Soldier: Well done! A brave man, what a brave man!
President Ilham Aliyev: Hello, hello. Let`s take a picture afterwards.
We showed our strength on the battlefield. We have expelled the Armenians from our lands. We have raised the Azerbaijani flag on our lands. We have fulfilled the greatest wish of the Azerbaijani people on the battlefield, not through negotiations. They were deceiving us. For 27 years, the Armenians built settlements here for themselves and brought Armenians from abroad. Khanlig settlement was given an ugly Armenian name.
Soldiers: Your words are our motto: “We chased them like dogs”.
President Ilham Aliyev: They saw our strength. They thought that they would live in our lands forever and challenge us. We ran out of patience, and I said – forward.
Soldiers: Thank you, long live Azerbaijan! May you always be over our heads!
President Ilham Aliyev: Heroic Azerbaijani soldiers showed their strength to the whole world. I am aware that our combat tactics are now being studied in the world's leading military schools. This is a novelty, a war of the 21st century. We have liberated our lands from occupiers due to professionalism, resolve, national spirit and heroism.
Soldiers: Thanks to your leadership and resolve.
President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you.
Soldiers: We are proud of you. Long live Azerbaijan!
President Ilham Aliyev: Long live Azerbaijani soldiers!
Soldiers: Karabakh is Azerbaijan!
President Ilham Aliyev: Let's take a picture.
Soldier: Happy birthday, live to be a hundred, may God prolong your life!
Then President Ilham Aliyev and first lady Mehriban Aliyeva left for the city of Gubadli.
President Ilham Aliyev: Two large rivers pass through the territory of Gubadli district: the Hakari River and the Bazarchay River. Here is one of them, have a look. Most likely, this is the Hakari River. This is Ashaghi Mollu village. A photo of our martyr Rufat Asgarov. Rest in peace! May God rest the souls of all our martyrs in peace!
First lady Mehriban Aliyeva: Rest in peace!
President Ilham Aliyev: Beautiful views of Gubadli district. Another village razed to the ground. We will rebuild everything, including the roads and infrastructure. What a beautiful view!
This is probably the Bazarchay Rover. Because the Hakari River flows on one side of Gubadli and the Bazarchay River on the other side. It is also called the Bargushad River. Gazyan village. Look, they have written something in Armenian there. It should be uninstalled, let's uninstall it.
Dilalimuskanli village. This village is also destroyed. All the houses are destroyed. One or two houses remain, the enemy lived in them. This is Saray village. Saray village is located near the city of Gubadli. This village is also destroyed.
See what the enemy has done to the city of Gubadli. All buildings are destroyed. They only built a military unit for themselves. This is the city of Gubadli. This was probably their warehouse. This house was also demolished. The Armenians built a military base at the entrance to the city of Gubadli. The sun has come out. Nature also welcomes and greets us. True owners of this land are here. See what they have done to the city of Gubadli? See what the enemy has left behind?
President Ilham Aliyev raised the Azerbaijani flag in Gubadli.
The head of state made a speech here.
Speech of President Ilham Aliyev
- It was raining this morning, but when we reached Gubadli, the sun came out. Nature itself is greeting and welcoming us. True owners have returned to Gubadli. The liberation of Gubadli from occupation was a historic event. The liberation of Gubadli on 25 October brought us closer to victory. There were fierce battles for Gubadli. We had martyrs. Among them, National Hero Shukur Hamidov from Gubadli district died as a hero in the battles for his homeland. I awarded the title of a National Hero to Shukur Hamidov for his heroism in the April battles. May God rest his soul in peace! May God rest the souls of all our martyrs in peace! Azerbaijani servicemen, including Shukur Hamidov, have been awarded high military orders by the state.
The operation to liberate Gubadli district took several days. After the liberation of Zangilan on 20 October, of course, our next destination was Gubadli district. The Armenians had built strong fortifications in the city. Now there are no traces of the city, all buildings have been destroyed, demolished, and all the villages and settlements in Jabrayil, Zangilan and Gubadli districts along the road have been destroyed. But here at the entrance to the city, the enemy had set up a military base. Enemy troops were stationed at these heights. This is why it was not easy to liberate the city of Gubadli. First of all, Armenian fortifications had to be destroyed, and one of them was located in Khanlig settlement. They had built strong fortifications there and turned Khanlig settlement into a base for themselves. The Armenians living abroad had built a settlement there. But it is Azerbaijani soldiers who are stationed in this settlement now. Armenians were brought here from abroad with the money of the Armenian diaspora and were illegally settled in Gubadli. This is a war crime in itself. The Armenian state will be held accountable for this and all other crimes.
In order to liberate Gubadli, we first had to seize these heights because the enemy was regularly firing on our soldiers from these heights. At the same time, we were fired on from the territory of Armenia proper. Azerbaijan did not intend to move into the territory of Armenia, and I have repeatedly stated this during the war. They believed that they could use these opportunities to stop our attack. The distance from here, from the city of Gubadli, to the Armenian border over there is 5 kilometers. They fired on our soldiers with heavy artillery both from there and from these heights, using various weapons. Therefore, the Gubadli operation required special professionalism and self-sacrifice. And the Azerbaijani Army showed this professionalism and self-sacrifice. First of all, we took the heights dominating the city, the surrounding villages, including Khanlig settlement, Padar, Sariyatag, Mahmudlu villages, and other strategic heights. After that, the Azerbaijani Armed Forces entered the city and cleared it of the enemy.
The liberation of Gubadli district and the city of Gubadli gave us a great strategic advantage. Because the next direction after Gubadli was Lachin district. Every day, I approved a combat operation plan. Every day, the work was summarized and analyzed – to what extent the work done during that day was in line with our plans and what achievements we had made. The road from Gubadli to the southern part of Lachin district was constantly under fire. Because the road to Lachin district passes right next to the state border of Armenia – the distance there is perhaps 10-20 meters, so Armenia was constantly firing on us from that side. Therefore, our military units reached the strategic heights of Lachin district by other roads and various mountain paths. Thus, Gulabird village, Safiyan village, Turklar village located in the southern part of Lachin district were liberated. At the same time, the capture of strategic heights allowed us the opportunity to keep the Lachin corridor within firing range.
The enemy was waiting for us from this side. Of course, the enemy was well aware that the war cannot stop without the liberation of Shusha. The enemy thought that after taking over the southern part of Lachin district, we would go to Shusha from this side. We also knew that the enemy was waiting for us here. We moved towards Shusha from another direction, a direction they did not expect. They are still in disbelief as to how our heroic soldiers and officers approached Shusha through those mountains, valleys and forests, and liberated Shusha from occupation. They were waiting for us here and, at the same time, in the direction of Girmizibazar settlement of Khojavand district. But we went towards Shusha through another direction. Approaching Shusha, we liberated several villages, including Sighnag, Chanakhchi and Dashalti. The Gubadli operation was of great importance because it was after Gubadli that we liberated the city of Shusha from occupation. Gubadli was liberated on 25 October and Shusha was liberated on 8 November. And the enemy was forced to surrender.
The work we did during the war is being studied in the military schools of leading countries. I have exact information about this. Our foreign partners have informed us that Azerbaijan's military tactics and our operations are being studied in the higher military schools of the most developed countries, and this is a modern combat tactic. No-one in the world had used this tactic before us. All of the key factors here were aimed at achieving the goal by inflicting crushing blows to the enemy with minimal losses and virtually destroying the enemy's army, and this is exactly what happened. We launched a counter-offensive on 27 September and then switched to the offensive. We had to liberate our lands. Armenia's provocations had to be stopped. The killing of innocent people had to be stopped. After the counter-offensive, the attacking side usually suffers more casualties. However, our losses are very small given the scale of the war. Every single martyr is irreplaceable, the death of each person is a great tragedy – for themselves, for their relatives, for the entire nation. But we must also say that we have achieved what we wanted with few losses. This is probably why some people think that this issue could have been resolved earlier. However, it is a great heroism to liberate this territory from occupation in 44 days, to destroy the enemy, to destroy the enemy’s army and to force the enemy to surrender.
We tried to build our tactics so that the losses were minimal. At the same time, there were quite a few unexpected steps in our tactics as well. The tactical methods we used are a novelty for the world’s military science. More information on this issue will be provided in due course. However, the information dripping through to foreign media suggests that this war was and is being seriously analyzed by military experts. Professionalism, heroism, planning, strong resolve, national spirit, technical equipment – all these factors combined and the unity of the people and the government have preconditioned our victory.
Every day, we were moving forward, and over the course of 44 days there was not a single day on which we would retreat. There was not a single day on which we did not achieve our plan. Every morning, I approved the daily combat plan, which was subsequently analyzed at the end of that day. As a result, we were able to achieve a great victory in a short time and liberate our native lands from the enemy. We have dealt such devastating blows to the enemy that it has not yet been able to recover.
The trilateral statement signed on 10 November was in fact a capitulation of the Armenian state. Armenia surrendered, threw in a towel and dropped to its knees. After that, Aghdam, Lachin and Kalbajar districts were returned to us without a single shot being fired. Today, it is Azerbaijani soldiers who are serving in these districts. This is a great achievement. We would definitely have taken those districts by fighting, but we could have suffered many losses, especially in the direction of Aghdam, which was mined on all sides. Also, there were several lines of defense. At the same time, especially if we take into account the weather conditions, the liberation of Kalbajar and Lachin districts by military means would have been fraught with heavy losses. Winter had already begun and the roads were frost-bitten. It takes hours to cross into Kalbajar from Goygol district.
Therefore, the statement signed on 10 November is of great importance. Of course, if we had not liberated a large territory from the invaders, if we hadn’t broken the enemy's back and achieved the desired goal of destroying the enemy army, the enemy would not have signed such a humiliating document for them. We forced them, expelled them from our lands, and, as always, I remained true to my word. I was saying from the early days of the war that the Armenian leadership must explicitly state when and on what particular date it would leave our lands. It had to give us an exact date. If that had happened, we would have stopped the war. But we were not given a date. They carried on with their ugly deeds and occupation and resorted to various tricks to involve foreign countries. If the Armenian leadership had heeded my words and taken the right step, it would not have been in such a humiliating situation. I said that we would go to the end, and we did go to the end. We stopped at the right time, we returned the three districts without a single shot being fired, without a single loss. We have restored our territorial integrity.
Today, the Azerbaijani flag is flying in the occupied territories. Today, as Commander-in-Chief, I am meeting with soldiers in these liberated lands. Specific steps have already been taken to restore this region, the Karabakh region. Preliminary contracts have already been signed. The hated enemy has destroyed everything there. Everything along the road is destroyed – from Jabrayil district to the liberated lands in Gubadli. There is not a single safe building. Only a few buildings remain in Gubadli, and this is where their servicemen and their families used to live. All buildings, all houses, our historical sites, our mosques and graves have been destroyed by the hated enemy. All these crimes are documented.
When I visit these liberated territories and see the atrocities committed by the Armenians, I get further convinced what a great service we have done not only to ourselves, but also to our entire region. We have caved in the head of Armenian fascism. It is the Armenian fascism that has brought our lands to this plight. We have broken the back of the fascist Armenian state, the terrorist state. We brought it to its knees, so they must draw the right conclusions. Armenian society must draw the right conclusions. If they still cherish any revenge sentiments, they will face a bitter end. If a single bullet is fired here from the other side – the Armenian border is 5 kilometers from here – we will crush them so hard they will forget their own names.
We have achieved our goal. The Victory Parade was held on 10 December. In that Victory Parade, we demonstrated the enemy's destroyed military equipment, the spoils of war we have taken, and also demonstrated our own military potential. We will continue to strengthen our army. Next year's budget is now being discussed. On my initiative, military spending is increasing. First of all, because we used up a lot of our weaponry during the war, and it needs to be replenished. At the same time, there are plans to continue purchasing modern equipment. The modernization of our army, the combat potential of our army, the professionalism of our army will always be in the spotlight.
We have won a victory! We have driven the enemy out of our lands! But no-one can guarantee that Armenian fascism will not rise again in a few years. Therefore, the Azerbaijani state must always be strong. The Azerbaijani state must always have a strong army. We know how strong we are. And so does the world. If we had wanted, we could have carried out any military operation not only on our own territory, but also on the territory of Armenia. We could do it even today. The Armenian side is also aware of that. But we have always respected international law, and I have always said that we don’t set our sights on the lands of other countries. We must live on our own land. We will live here, we have driven the enemy out of our lands and we will restore this entire region.
Gubadli district is one of the most beautiful parts of the country, and all the necessary restoration work will be planned on in a short time. Foreign experts have been involved and invited, and they will do all the appraisal work. Video and photo documents are being collected, and the entire damage will be calculated. Our lands have been exploited. Our natural resources have been exploited. A gold deposit in Zangilan district has been exploited. The same holds true for other liberated territories. The Armenian state will be held to account for all this. At the same time, all the restoration work will be carried out. We will restore all our cities, settlements and villages. Our people will return there and we will live on our lands forever. No-one can expel us from our lands ever again.
In my numerous addresses to the nation before the war, I said that Azerbaijan was a strong country and that we had never been as strong as we are today. When I said this, I meant not only our economic, but also our military potential. History and the results of the war have confirmed that I was right. Azerbaijan had never achieved such a brilliant Victory in its entire history. Azerbaijan had never been as strong in its entire history. Our strength lies in our unity. We have shown unity, we have shown perseverance, we have shown heroism, and as a result, we have crushed the enemy with an iron fist and liberated our native lands. Karabakh is Azerbaijan! Long live Azerbaijani soldiers! Long live Azerbaijan!
Then the head of state and the first lady left for the liberated from occupation Zangilan district.
President Ilham Aliyev: Zangilan. Zangilan city is close.
In Zangilan, the enemy has destroyed everything too. Look at the destroyed houses. Notice what state this house is in.
President Ilham Aliyev raised the Azerbaijani flag in Zangilan.
President Ilham Aliyev and first lady Mehriban Aliyeva then visited the mosque in Zangilan, which was destroyed by the hated enemy.
Addressing in front of the mosque, President Ilham Aliyev said:
- Notice what the hated enemy has done to the mosque. All our religious sites have been destroyed by the enemy. The world has been tight-lipped for 30 years. We have repeatedly raised this issue, raised it in the international arena – our historical and religious sites have been destroyed and desecrated. We have shown those images many times. Showing the condition of the Aghdam mosque, the Shusha mosques and other mosques under occupation at the time, we said that the hated enemy had destroyed and desecrated our religious sites.
After the liberation of Zangilan, a video was circulated of pigs in one of the mosques. The enemy has insulted our religion, insulted all the Muslims. There was a mosque here, but now it is gone, they have destroyed it. Some are raising the issue of the religious heritage of the Armenian people in the liberated lands now. But why didn’t anyone raise the issue of our national and religious heritage? A UNESCO official has recently made an unfounded statement that they had allegedly asked us but Azerbaijan remained silent. We have repeatedly appealed to UNESCO for 30 years, repeatedly stated that our mosques have been destroyed, our historical sites have been destroyed, our historical sites have been Armenianized. Have they sent a mission here at least once? Has our request been answered at least once? As soon as the war ended, they started to protect the sites of the Armenian people. We are protecting all sites, we are protecting the sites of all nations, and the world knows that. But you should have a look, there was a mosque here, UNESCO, come here, come and see this. The Council of Europe, do not remain silent, come and see this! All our mosques are destroyed. Is it possible to destroy mosques? Is it not a crime to demolish a mosque? How much longer will this injustice last? How long will this hypocrisy last? How long will these double standards last? How long will this Islamophobia last? It was the Armenians who destroyed it. Can someone introducing himself as a civilized person and is even accepted by some foreign patrons as such do this? Can a civilized person keep pigs in a mosque? Let the whole world see this! Let Muslims of the world, the peoples of Muslim countries see this. What kind of friendship can we talk about with a country that has committed this? Unfortunately, we are still hearing that some Muslim states call Armenia a friendly country. The executioners who ruled this “friendly country” for 20 years have done this. They came here and destroyed our mosques and insulted us. The whole world should see this. If any claims are made against us, we will respond. Let international organizations come and see this, reflect this in their reports, condemn the occupying state and see what kind of evil we fought against, expelled this evil from our lands, threw them out of here. See what happened to our cities. There is not a single safe building. I have come here all the way from the liberated lands in Jabrayil and Gubadli to Zangilan. There is not a single safe building. All the buildings have been demolished, our villages have been renamed, ugly names have been given to them. Our mosque are in this state now. Armenia will be held accountable. It will be held to account! We have expelled them from our lands, destroyed them and their army. I am sure that even after these images, “international officials” trying to criticize us will continue to remain tight-lipped. We will restore this mosque and our citizens will come and worship here, the call to prayer will come from here, and life will return to these lands.
President Ilham Aliyev: Now we are heading from Zangilan back to Baku. Along the way we enjoy the beautiful nature of Zangilan. See how beautiful these places are. While visiting Gubadli and Zangilan districts, we saw again what the savage enemy has done to our cities and villages. Lands occupied for 30 years have returned to their owners. We are back. We have destroyed the enemy and emerged victorious. After a while, life will return to this region, Inshallah.
Now we are heading for Baku. I want to say words of thank you to Mehriban Aliyeva for the doing video. Please show yourself too.
First lady Mehriban Aliyeva: With deep respect and love, yours Mehriban.
President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you, dear sisters and brothers. Karabakh is Azerbaijan!