By Ruslan Rehimov
BAKU, Azerbaijan (AA) - Retired Azerbaijani Major Chingiz Gehremanov and his son joined the their country's army in its operation against occupying Armenian forces in the Nagorno-Karabakh region to liberate the village where he was born.
Having also fought Armenian forces in the previous war in the 1990s, Gehremanov played an active role in liberating villages in Lachin, which they had to leave 27 years ago. He mustered 25 fellow soldiers, as well as his son, from 1990s war and they once again fought with the army.
After fighting shoulder-to-shoulder with his son, they became the first Azerbaijanis who stepped in Sefiyan village in Lachin, their homeland, after 27 years.
Managing to survive many difficulties on their journey from the province of Fuzuli to Lachin, they told Anadolu Agency that there were times when they endured howitzer attacks and their armored vehicle hit a landmine.
Gehremanov's son, Reshat, said he was proud of having fought with his father and liberating their homeland from occupation with the Azerbaijani army.
"We had some tough times. There was a time when howitzers rained down on us for two hours. Then, I got my strength from being by my father's side," he said.
"I grew up with the dream of going to those lands. It's impossible for me to express with words how it feels to visit my grandfather's grave after all these years. I'm grateful that this came true," he added.
Meanwhile, father Gehremanov said: "At last, we could enter Sefiyan village where I spent my childhood. We found our home, we stayed there a night. When Lachin was occupied 27 years ago, I went to my father's grave and vowed to return one day. I kept my promise and returned.”
Relations between the former 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.
New clashes erupted on Sept. 27 and the Armenian army continued attacks on civilians and Azerbaijani forces, even violating humanitarian cease-fire agreements for 44 days.
Baku liberated several cities and nearly 300 settlements and villages from Armenian occupation during this time.
On Nov. 10, the two countries signed a Russia-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.
*Writing by Dilan Pamuk in Ankara