By Ruslan Rehimov
BAKU, Azerbaijan (AA) - Azerbaijani soldiers entered on Tuesday the Lachin region following 28 years of occupation by Armenian forces and hoisted Azerbaijan’s national flag in the city center.
In images shared by Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry, the commander of the soldiers entering the city addressed President Ilham Aliyev in front of the building where the flag was hung, saying: “Dear commander-in-chief, the Azerbaijani flag is flying in the city of Lachin. Long live Azerbaijan. Long live the commander-in-chief. Karabakh is Azerbaijan.”
Relations between the ex-Soviet republics of Azerbaijan and Armenia have been tense since 1991, when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, also known as Upper Karabakh, a territory recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.
When new clashes erupted on Sept. 27, the Armenian army launched attacks on civilians and Azerbaijani forces and violated several humanitarian cease-fire agreements.
During the 44-day conflict, Azerbaijan liberated several cities and nearly 300 settlements and villages from the Armenian occupation.
On Nov. 10, the two countries signed a Russian-brokered agreement to end fighting and work toward a comprehensive resolution.
The truce is seen as a victory for Azerbaijan and a defeat for Armenia, whose armed forces have been withdrawing in line with the agreement.
The Armenian army withdrew from the Aghdam province on Nov. 20, from Kalbajar on Nov. 25, and from Lachin on Nov. 30.
*Writing by Merve Berker