Today marks the third anniversary of the four-day heavy fighting along the Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) Line of Contact.
In the early hours of April 2, 2016, Azerbaijan’s armed forces launched large-scale offensives in the conflict zone, provoking skirmishes with the military units of Artsakh’s Defense Army. The situation spiraled out of control especially in the southern and north-eastern directions of the frontline (Hadrut and Martakert).
The Azerbaijanis maximum used the available weaponry in their arsenal.
Starting from 6:00 am, April 3, they launched aggressive attacks against southern military positions, shooting fire from rockets, artillery, as well as armored vehicles. In a statement released later the same day, they declared a unilateral ceasefire, but continued the military operations, keeping the civilians in the south-eastern Martakert region under artillery fire.
The large-scale heavy fighting continued also on the night of April 4, with the frontline positions of the Armenian armed forces and the nearest Armenian towns and villages being under permanent cannon and artillery attacks. The following night, the Azerbaijanis opened fire from the heavy multiple rocket launcher BM-30 Smerch. A ceasefire later followed, ending the hostilities. The truce reached at noon on April 5 was maintained throughout the night.
The Azerbaijani troops launched a commando raid in the south-eastern direction of the frontline (Talish) on the night of April 7 but were pushed back after a reported casualty.
On April 8, Armenia and Azerbaijan initiated searches to retrieve dead bodies based upon an earlier agreement. The operations, involving representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and field assistants of the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, saw no violations of the agreed ceasefire. Armenia reported an estimated 100 victims and the loss of 800 hectares of territory in the wake of the clashes.