By Ruslan Rehimov
BAKU, Azerbaijan (AA) - PKK terrorists are fighting side by side with the Armenian army to defend their illegal occupation of Upper Karabakh, also known as Nagorno-Karabakh, a captured Armenian soldier confessed on Friday, according to Azerbaijani security sources.
Albert Mikaelyan, captured by the Azerbaijani army during operations to liberate its occupied territories, said he is originally from northwestern Armenia’s Sirak province but was deployed to Upper Karabakh for his mandatory military service, according to the Azerbaijani sources, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
While serving in an anti-tank team, Mikaelyan noticed the presence of Kurdish-speaking mercenaries in the barracks, up to 1500 of them.
"They get paid $600. They are divided into teams of 10-15. They have been learning local conditions and preparing for deployment to the battlefield," Mikaelyan noted.
On Wednesday, Hikmet Hajiyev, assistant to the Azerbaijani president, said Armenia is using PKK terrorists on the front lines in Upper Karabakh.
“We also have concerns about the PKK terrorist organization's involvement in the war,” said Hajiyev.
“They are also in the ranks of the Armenian armed forces. Essentially, they are deployed on the front line of the defense of the Armenian armed forces.”
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the EU – has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.
- Upper Karabakh conflict
Relations between the two former Soviet republics have been tense since 1991 when the Armenian military occupied Upper Karabakh.
Since fresh clashes erupted on Sept. 27, the Armenian army has continued its attacks on civilians and Azerbaijani forces, even violating humanitarian cease-fire agreements.
Four UN Security Council resolutions and two from the UN General Assembly, as well as international organizations, demand the "immediate complete and unconditional withdrawal of the occupying forces" from occupied Azerbaijani territory.
In total, about 20% of Azerbaijan's territory – including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions – has been under illegal Armenian occupation for nearly three decades.
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group – co-chaired by France, Russia, and the US – was formed in 1992 to find a peaceful solution to the conflict, but to no avail. A cease-fire, however, was agreed to in 1994.
World powers, including Russia, France, and the US, have called for a sustainable cease-fire. Turkey, meanwhile, has supported Baku's right to self-defense and demanded the withdrawal of Armenia's occupying forces.
*Writing by Ahmet Gencturk