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Armenia: From 'peace call' to women's military training

Armenian premier's wife spearheads military training in occupied Upper Karabakh territory weeks after border escalation

Jeyhun Aliyev   | 03.09.2020
Armenia: From 'peace call' to women's military training

ANKARA

The Armenian prime minister's wife has initiated and personally participated in military training held in Upper Karabakh, the Azerbaijani territories illegally occupied by Armenian forces.

Just weeks after a major deadly escalation of tensions between the two neighbors in the southern Caucasus, Anna Hakobyan, 42, took part in the week-long military training camp that started on Aug. 25 and involved 15 Armenian women of various ages and professions, according to the story and photo published by Armenpress.

During the so-called combat preparedness training, Hakobyan and the other women were completely immersed in military life, wearing uniforms, being stationed in their unit and undergoing professional, physical, combat preparedness and first aid training, said the report.

Seeking to instill military skills in the women, the training also included a demonstration on the usage and mechanisms of military equipment, including rifles, as well as a shooting test and a visit to the frontline with Azerbaijan.

Hakobyan, along with the other participants, also visited the so-called head of Upper Karabakh.

In March, the supposed presidential and parliamentary elections held in Upper Karabakh, also known as Nagorno-Karabakh, displayed Armenia's efforts to unilaterally legitimize the current unlawful status of the area.

At the time, Turkey called Armenia's attempt to hold elections in the occupied region "a flagrant violation of international law as well as UN Security Council resolutions and OSCE [Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe] principles."

It was under these circumstances that the armed military training took place as part of Hakobyan's Women For Peace campaign.

The Women For Peace campaign of a woman in military uniform aimed, as she said on Facebook on July 13, at "uniting women against war, creating a favorable environment for the leaders of the conflicting countries to seek solutions to the conflicts at the negotiating table."

Participation in military training also followed recent remarks by Hakobyan that "war must always be avoided, there is always an alternative."

In stark contrast with an escalation of tensions at the Armenia-Azerbaijan frontier this July, Hakobyan then called on "Azerbaijani women and mothers for peace."

The Armenian army violated a cease-fire on July 12 and attacked Azerbaijani border positions in the northwestern Tovuz district with artillery fire, and later withdrew after suffering heavy losses following retaliation from the Azerbaijani army.

At least 12 Azerbaijani soldiers, including high-ranking officers, were martyred and four troops were wounded in cross-border attacks by the Armenian forces.

Azerbaijan blamed Armenia for the "provocative" actions, with Ankara throwing its weight behind Baku, and warning Yerevan that it would not hesitate to stand against any kind of attack on its eastern neighbor.

Upper Karabakh, an internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan, has been illegally occupied since 1991 by Armenian military aggression.

Four UN Security Council and two General Assembly resolutions, as well as decisions by many other international organizations, refer to this fact and demand the withdrawal of Armenia’s occupation forces from Upper Karabakh and seven other occupied regions of Azerbaijan.

The OSCE Minsk Group -- co-chaired by France, Russia and the US -- was formed to find a peaceful solution to the conflict, but has yet to get any results.

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