The President of Azerbaijan announced on Friday that his military had entered and taken control of the Agdam region, a territory ceded by Armenia to a Russia-brokered peace agreement last week, which ended six weeks of military conflict Nagorno-Karabakh region.
“Today, with a sense of infinite pride, I am informing my people about Agdam’s release,” Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev told the country, according to Associated Press.
“Agdam is ours!”
Agdam is the first area surrendered as part of a peace agreement that envisions Armenia giving control to some areas outside Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh.
Nagorno-Karabakh is based in Azerbaijan, but has been controlled by Armenian forces since the end of the 1994 separatist war there, which led to decades of tension between the two nations.
The latest fighting, which began on September 27th, was the biggest escalation of the conflict, with the AP saying hundreds and potentially thousands of people had been killed.
The United States helped negotiate a previous ceasefire between the countries last month, but the agreement fell apart within minutes.
Aliyev said on Friday that Azerbaijan had managed to take control of the Agdam region “without a single shot [fired] or losses [suffered]He called it a “great political success” that would not have been possible without military gains.
Following the peace agreement last week, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said the truce was reached “on the basis of in-depth analyzes of the fighting situation and in discussion with the best experts in the field.”
“It’s not a victory, but there is no defeat until you consider yourself defeated. “We will never consider ourselves defeated and this will be a new start in the era of our national unity and rebirth,” he added.
While the peace agreement was largely celebrated in Azerbaijan, mass demonstrations erupted in opposition to the agreement last week in the Armenian capital, Yerevan.
The AP reported that some ethnic Armenians had left the territories destined to be handed over to Azerbaijan, setting fire to their houses in protest.