Armenia kills civilians systematically, in line with state policy - Azerbaijani MFA

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The killing of civilians by the Armenian Armed Forces is not an accident, but bears a systematic character and is a state policy included in the process of training of the armed forces, Spokesman of the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry Hikmet Hajiyev said in a statement.

Hajiyev reminded that 51-year-old Sahiba Allahverdiyeva and her two-year-old granddaughter Zahra Guliyeva were killed and 52-year-old Sarvinaz Guliyeva was seriously injured on July 4, 2017 in the Alkhanli village of Fizuli district.

"The path of the projectile and the absence of any facility of military importance or legitimate military targets clearly show that, the aim of the Armenian armed forces was the deliberate and purposeful killing of civilians. To kill a young child and an elderly woman is a meanness, infamy and cowardice. The military-political leadership of Armenia has not taken any steps to investigate this war crime, on the contrary, it has voiced appeals justifying this terrorist act. The numerous war crimes and criminal acts against humanity including the Khojaly genocide were committed as a result of the military aggression against Azerbaijan and the occupation of Azerbaijani lands by Armenia," Hajiyev said.

He noted that, such acts of Armenia are a gross violation of international humanitarian law, in particular the obligations under the Geneva Convention. All this shows that the killing of civilians by the Armenian armed forces is not an accident.

"Armenia, which remains unpunished, has no moral, political and legal right to commit these crimes. During the April events of 2016, the Armenian armed forces attempted to commit the same acts against civilians and targets along the entire line of contact. However, thanks to the resolute and professional counter-offensive measures of the Azerbaijani armed forces, Armenia received a worthy response. The presence of Armenian armed forces in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan continues to be a serious threat to peace and stability in the region. And Armenian troops must be unconditionally and completely withdrawn from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan in order to stop this threat, in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions," Hajiyev said.

The Armenian armed forces opened fire, using 82 and 120 mm mortars and grenade launchers at the village of Alkhanli of Fizuli district on July 4, 2017 at about 20:40.

The residents of the village Sahiba Allahverdiyeva (b. 1967) and Zahra Guliyeva (b. 2015) were killed as a result of this provocation of the Armenian side. Sarvinaz Guliyeva (b. 1965) received shrapnel wound and was taken to hospital and operated on.

The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.

The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.