The president of Azerbaijan announced on Friday that his military had taken control of the Aghdam region, an area cut off by Armenia in -one Russian mediated peace agreement last week, ending six weeks of military conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh Region.
“Today, with a sense of endless pride, I inform my people about the liberation of Aghdam,” Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said in a speech to the country, according to Associated Press.
“Aghdam is ours!”
Aghdam is the first territory to be handed over as part of the peace agreement, which states that Armenia gives control of some areas outside Nagorno-Karabakh’s borders with Azerbaijan.
Nagorno-Karabakh is located in Azerbaijan, but has been controlled by Armenian forces since the end of a separatist war there in 1994, resulting in decades of tension between the two nations.
The latest battle, which began on September 27, was the biggest escalation of the conflict, with the AP reporting that hundreds and potentially thousands of people had been killed.
The United States helped negotiate an earlier ceasefire between the countries last month, but the agreement fell apart within minutes.
On Friday, Aliyev said Azerbaijan was able to take control of the Aghdam region “without a single shot. [fired] or loss [suffered]And called it a “great political success” that would not have been possible without military gains.
After the peace agreement last week Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said the ceasefire was achieved “based on the deep analysis of the fighting situation and in discussion with the best experts in the field.”
“This is not a victory, but there is no defeat until you consider yourself defeated. We will never consider ourselves defeated and this will be a fresh start to an era of our national unity and rebirth, ”he added.
While the peace agreement was largely celebrated in Azerbaijan, mass demonstrations broke out in the Armenian capital Yerevan last week in opposition to the agreement.
The AP reported that some ethnic Armenians had left the territories to be handed over to Azerbaijan, which were burning their houses in protest.