Azerbaijan Confirms Soldier Deaths, Retrieves Bodies from Neutral Zone

STEPANAKERT, Artsakh (A.W.)—On Feb. 27, the Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabagh) and Azerbaijani Defense Ministries both confirmed that Azerbaijani forces had retrieved the five bodies of Azerbaijani servicemen who were killed during the Azerbaijani infiltration attempt at the Artsakh Line of Contact (LoC) over the weekend.

Armenian and Artsakh Armed Forces holding joint military exercises at a training ground near the town of Tigranakert, Artsakh, in 2014 (Photo: AFP)

The procedure took place through the mediation of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Artsakh Defense Ministry reported.

Following the two offensive attempts by the Azerbaijani forces, which are being described as the most intense fighting on the border since April 2016, the OSCE released a statement regarding a breach of the ceasefire but failed to blame either side.

“The Co-Chairs call upon the Parties to keep heavy military equipment, which had been moved earlier close to the LOC, in its present positions and to allow recovery of the dead, as it was agreed upon yesterday under the mediation of the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office,” read a part of the statement.

The Defense Ministry in Baku said that representatives of the OSCE and the ICRC were supposed to retrieve the bodies on Feb. 26, but claimed that they were unable to do so, since the Armenian side added “new and unacceptable” conditions last minute.

Denying that claim, the Artsakh Defense Army reported that the bodies were not recovered because the Azerbaijani military violated agreements that were reached during negotiations.

On Feb. 27, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry confirmed the five deaths and released the names of the individuals. The killed soldiers according to the Ministry were Abdullayev Agshin Ismayil oglu, Nazarov Shahlar Yashar oglu, Gashimli Tural Abdul oglu, Gadimov Zulfu Rahim oglu and Jafarov Zakir Nazim oglu.

Major Abdullayev was the chief of reconnaissance of the Azerbaijani army brigade, according Azerbaijani media reports.

Source: Armenian Weekly
Link: Azerbaijan Confirms Soldier Deaths, Retrieves Bodies from Neutral Zone

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