After 3 weeks of war: A new *temporary* “humanitarian truce” has been declared between ARM & AZ forces, to come into force tonight as of 0000, 18/10. Announcement evokes both OSCE co-Chair nations’ statement + failed humanitarian ceasefire brokered 10/10 by Russia. 1/10
Why now? Last 36 hrs have seen appalling missile strikes/bombardment of population centres: Stepanakert in NK hit again; Ganja hit for second time, destroying residential building and killing 13 Azerbaijani civilians. Nearly 100 civilians killed on all sides now. 2/10
Sides appeared caught in a retaliatory spiral, mounting grave violations of humanitarian law (strikes on civil population centres by both sides, credible reports of POW execution by AZ forces) – immensely politically damaging for all causes in this fight. 3/10
Ceasefire *might* indicate that AZ gains deemed enough to re-enter talks with real leverage, or that more ambitious mil-strategic goal of encircling NK proper not (yet?) seen as attainable? 4/10
Ilham Aliyev announced today recapture of Fizuli, 2nd former district capital after Jebrayil reported recaptured since 27/09. Capture of these 2 lower-lying districts districts seen by many as possible/likely AZ goal this time 5/10
Intense fighting reported today with heavy ARM casualties - overall KIA to date = 819. Fighting over last 24-26 hours reportedly costly for both sides - conflict fatigue also a likely factor. 6/10
Agreement follows more active diplomacy from France + Russia; US now needs to pull weight if a new multilateral effort is to have legs. 7/10
Interestingly, Russian press publishes sensational scoops, drawing on intelligence sources, on extent of active Turkish incitement + involvement in war: does this presage a tougher stance from Moscow? See 8/10
Humanitarian issues must be urgently complied with: ICRC (Red Cross) must be permitted to exchange remains + POWs; relief to displaced popns; CV-19 measures to stem surging infections; basic supplies to survive winter needed urgently; humanitarian access to NK critical. 9/10
Return to political process needed to discuss (1) new security offer to the parties to give them the political space to: (2) re-open discussion of Basic Principles, which none of parties have rejected. 10/10
Whether this truce is temporary or not as yet unclear
CORRECTION: ARM KIA = 673; ARM claims that has identified 819 AZ KIA.

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More from @LaurenceBroers

19 Oct
Second ceasefire of 17/10 also failed; sides blame each other and without ceasefire monitoring mechanism impossible to be sure but common sense suggests AZ has military advantage and therefore more to gain from continuation. 1/9
Intense fighting continued in north and southern areas of front, and Ilham Aliyev announced today recapture of another 13 villages in Jebrayil; also yesterday historically symbolic Khudaferin Bridges, constructed 11-13th centuries across River Aras. 2/9
Seems clear that AZ advance has reached halfway point between former Line of Contact and ARM border; mobilisation of all men of military age reported in Meghri, Kajaran, in southern ARM region of Syunik. 3/9
Read 9 tweets
13 Oct
There are voices rightly highlighting relentless focus on geopolitics in the tragedy in + around #Karabakh. Geopolitics is what we can most easily see, and means to most easily simplify complexity + align it with political agendas. But it shouldn't be the main story now. 1/11
We only have intermittent or highly mediated glimpses of what is happening on ground, but clear that a humanitarian catastrophe is happening in NK, with main towns enduring massive destruction + half of the Armenian population – up to 70,000 people – fleeing the territory. 2/11
There have been atrocities reported in Hadrut, evoking comparable, never addressed, atrocities when 3 Armenians were killed in Talish in April 2016. Altogether around 25 civilians on the Armenian side have been reported killed. 3/11
Read 11 tweets
13 Oct
Monday’s ceasefire document refers to the Basic Principles (BP), under discussion within the Minsk Group. Conflict parties as of 12/10 still affirm Minsk Group negotiations; lot of BP mentions in social media over the last 48 hours, even as intense fighting continues 1/13
So what are the BP (also known as ‘Madrid Principles’), how do the sides see them and how relevant might they be after this new war? The BP is a list of bullet points setting out core principles for an ARM-AZ peace, on which a peace agreement could then be based. 2/13
They’ve been around formally since 2007, but many of the ideas longer. The BP have been through iterations since then, but original version was published by the Armenian Research Center ANI after the April 2016 “4-day war”:… 3/13
Read 13 tweets
12 Oct
#Armenia-#Azerbaijan ceasefire of 10/10 failed from the off. Stepanakert reported hit that night and 9 reported killed and dozens wounded in missile strikes on Ganja, AZ’s 2nd city; at least 2 civilians also reported killed during AZ operation in Hadrut, south NK, on 10/10. 1/11
These deaths affirm each side’s worst fears of the other: state-sanctioned terror and ethnic cleansing. Further radicalises societies and makes standing down more costly for leaders. 2/11
Humanitarian aspects of truce (prisoner x-change) not implemented, and intensive fighting reported resumed in NE and SE sectors of the front. Heavy bombardment of NK reported overnight, heavy fighting reported around Hadrut today. 3/11
Read 11 tweets
10 Oct
After 2 weeks of war, Russia brokers a humanitarian ceasefire (CF) following 10 hours of talks between FMs Bayramov and Mnatsakanyan in Moscow. Sides agree: CF due to begin around now at 1200 local time, 10 October 2020.
Further aspects to the CF to be ‘additionally agreed’; parties to start substantive talks on the Basic Principles in Minsk Group framework and negotiation format to remain unchanged.
CF first good news in 2 weeks, but need to see if it will hold: reports of continued drone strikes + bombardment this morning; I found this useful on differences between CF, truce, cessation of hostilities, armistice:…
Read 15 tweets
4 Oct
Day 6, a brief summary: after very tentative signs of deceleration on Thurs/Friday, today saw a significant surge in fighting. All parties made statements or speeches indicating battles today seen as critical. ARM MoD says this is full-scale war, land + air + cyber. 1/7
Reported Armenian KIA stands at c. 206, ARM MoD has published details of 243 Azerbaijanis it claims KIA, but real figures for both likely much higher, especially after intense fighting in NE and SE of Line of Contact today; many hundreds more wounded. 2/7
Azerbaijan has said that 7/8 villages recaptured, incl. Madagiz in NE Karabakh and villages in SE in Fizuli-Jebrayil; there was a jubilant mood reported in Baku. Too early to confirm shifts in territorial control; certain though that aims much more ambitious than in 2016. 3/7
Read 7 tweets

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