YEREVAN (Combined Sources)–The heroic liberation of Shoushi, a turning point in the Karabakh Self-Defense movement, was organized and carried out without the approval of Armenia’s senior leadership, Karabakh War Veteran Arkady Ter-Tadeveosian told a press conference on Tuesday.
A veteran of the Karabakh Liberation mopvement, Ter-Tadevosian, also known by his comrades as “Comandos,” organized and executed the liberation of Shoushi from Azeri occupation.
But Armenia’s leadership at the time didn’t believe that the liberation of Shoushi would be possible, he explained. Outnumbered, outgunned and at a tactical disadvantage, Armenian freedom fighters under Ter-Tadevosian’s command were charged with the duty of attacking an impregnable fortress.
“They knew that the operation, with the resources available to us at that time, could entail heavy human losses,” stressed Ter-Tadevosian. “Militarily, it’s always easier to defend than it is to attack.”
The Liberation of the strategically vital mountain town was the first significant military victory during the Nagorno-Karabakh liberation movement. The Battle took place on May 9, 1992 and ending swiftly when Armenian forces captured and drove out the Azerbaijani occupying forces.
“The liberation of Shoushi was a question of life or death for us,” Ter-Tadevosian stressed.
After a hail of Azeri military bombardment from Shoushi had begun shelling Stepanakert, military commanders based in Karabakh began demanding that the Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Forces carry out the risky operation to liberate the town.
Due to its strategic position, Shoushi could be easily defended, making a direct attack impossible for the outnumbered Armenia’s. Ter-Tadevosian therefore devised a strategy of launching several diversionary attacks against the adjacent villages to draw the Azeri’s out of Shoushi. Prior to the offensive Ter-Tatevosyan’s forces had been concentrating an artillery barrage from several directions for several weeks in order to “soften up” the town’s defenses. When the Azeri’s had been drawn out, the Armenian forces encircled and cut off the town from further reinforcemen’s.
“But the liberation of Shushi would not have been possible if it were not for the valor of our soldiers,” Ter-Tadevosian noted. “It was because of their determination that I finally applied to the then head of the Karabakh Defense Committee Serzh Sarkisian for permission to carry out the operation.”
Several days after the liberation, Armenian forces were able to liberate the Lachin corridor, connecting Karabakh to Armenia proper.
May 9 is celebrated in Armenia and the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic as the “The Day of the Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army” and “The Day of Liberation of Shoushi.”