Armenia’s Defense Ministry on Thursday said that efforts by Azerbaijani ground forces to penetrate areas near Shushi were thwarted by Artsakh forces who were able to “neutralize them” causing heavy losses to the enemy.
Azerbaijani forces have been targeting Shushi for weeks in an attempt to cease control of Artsakh’s second largest city. As aerial attacks continued to rain rockets on the city, Azerbaijani groups have sporadically moved in to areas in the vicinity of the city.
Armenia’s Defense Ministry representative Artstrun Hovhanissyan said in his daily briefing on Thursday that insurgent Azerbaijani groups had camped out in villages, forests and even gorges near Shushi, but their attempts to advance have been quashed.
Artsakh President Arayik Harutyunyan visited the troops in Shushi on Thursday and and discussed the battle strategy to ward off Azerbaijani forces.
“The defensive fortifications created jointly by our professional soldiers and volunteer troops and the decisiveness of our brave men gives us hope that all possible steps are being taken to keep [Shushi] invincible,” the Artsakh President said.
“With its spiritual and cultural values and traditions, Shushi is our greatest legacy which we inherited from our ancestors, and we must pass it on to our generations with the same Armenian spirit,” said Harutyunyan.
Harutyunyan expressed special gratitude to Colonel-General Seyran Ohanyan, whom he called “a devoted son of the Armenian nation.” Ohanyan, who was Armenia’s Defense Minister, briefed Harutyunyan on combat operations in and around Shushi.
Fighting continued throughout Thursday, with Azerbaijani deploying heavy artillery in an effort to advance in the northern, southern and central fronts in Artsakh, targeting the Karmir Shuka region. Hovhannisyan said that small Azerbaijani formations, with minimal armor, but backed by artillery fire, were repelled by Artsakh forces.
In areas near Shushi, Azerbaijani insurgents were confronted by Artsakh Armed Forces soldiers who tracked them down in forests and cut them off at checkpoints, repelling them back to their original locations by encircling the enemy forces.
Hovhannisyan explained that small tactical regimens of Azerbaijan were spotted near Karin Tak and Lisagoras areas and faced Artsakh Army snipers who not only drove the enemy away, but also destroyed a cluster of armored vehicles.
Sporadic fighting continues throughout Artsakh and Azerbaijan continues its aggressive attacks against Armenians.