Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva visited Gubadli and Zangilan districts

23 december 2020, 23:40

As reported earlier, on December 23, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva visited the liberated from occupation Gubadli and Zangilan districts.

Driving the car on the way to Gubadli, President Ilham Aliyev said:

- We are on the territory of Jabrayil district. We are on liberated lands. On the right are our villages destroyed by the Armenians. We are heading for the Gubadli district.

- Destroyed vineyards. All villages are destroyed. The electricity poles on the left and right of the road were installed shortly after we liberated these lands.

- All villages are destroyed. The enemy will be held accountable for these crimes. The enemy had devastated all our towns, historical and religious monuments. The whole world should see it.

- A memorial from Soviet times. It is a memorial for World War II. They have destroyed it too.

- Another destroyed village.

First lady Mehriban Aliyeva: What is the name of the village?

President Ilham Aliyev: Goyerchin Veysalli village. The Armenian fascists destroyed it. Even the Nazis did not commit such atrocities during World War II. See what savage enemy we were facing, what evil forces we have defeated?! We have liberated our region and the Caucasus from fascists. We will restore all these villages. But, first of all, all the villages, all the destruction in them will be documented and registered.

- We are driving through the territory of the Zangilan district.

- Babayli village. It is also in ruins.

- There is not a single safe building. Have a look. All the buildings are destroyed. Here is an old cemetery.

- Beautiful views of Zangilan district. What a magnificent place. We will restore it all. Here is Uchunju Aghali village. It appears the Armenians lived here. But notice how they lived here. I have been saying that the Armenians live in poverty on the occupied territories, and this is proof of that. They came to our village and destroyed most of it.

The Armenians occupied our houses. Residents of Uchunju Aghali village will probably recognize this house. They came here, occupied someone else's lands, left people homeless, lived in other people's homes, turned them into ruins and then claimed that that was ancient Armenian land. Fraudsters, thieves, liars and savages have kept our lands under occupation for almost 30 years. All these videos will be material evidence for our claims in the legal field.

- Birinji Aghali village. It is destroyed too. But some houses have survived. The Armenians lived in our houses. From now on, we will live in our own homes. Let them go and live in their homeland.

- Selali village. This village is also destroyed. See what they have left behind. Even before the war, I was saying that all our villages and cities had been looted. Armenians torn down roofs and took away window frames and all other items. They openly looted and exploited our lands.

- They demolished one half of the house and lived in the other half. Notice what they have left behind. Looters!

The savage enemy passed through these lands and destroyed them so that the Azerbaijani people could never return here. Inshallah, we will all return. Everything is destroyed.

First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva: This is probably a military base.

President Ilham Aliyev: The Azerbaijani flag has already been hoisted there. Military bases were built to keep our lands under occupation forever, but we threw them out of here and expelled them from our lands. Rightful owners of the land are returning here now.

Notice how they have cut down the trees. See what the wild enemy has done – it has chopped down all the trees. Zangilan has a vibrant nature and rare forests, also known for its plane trees. See what the enemy has done. The whole world should see this. Whom have the pro-Armenian forces defended to this day? Let the countries that have adopted resolutions against us open their eyes and have a look. You hypocritical politicians open your eyes, have a look. Your parliaments have adopted resolutions. We couldn’t care less about your resolutions. They are just a piece of paper. But the fact is that the accusations against us are baseless again. Members of the French Parliament, members of the Belgian and Dutch parliaments, have a look and see what your beloved Armenians have done to these lands? Look at the map, look up the encyclopedia and see which country Zangilan and Gubadli districts are part of. You are adopting resolutions – hell with those resolutions. Look at them, accusing Azerbaijan!

- Khanlig village of Gubadli. Fierce battles for Khanlig village took place. The Armenians have given our historical ancient village an ugly name. Khanlig village is located on the territory of Gubadli district. We are now in Gubadli district. Armenians have built military fortifications and a military base in Khanlig village. An illegal settlement was carried out here. Armenians brought from abroad were resettled here illegally. That is another war crime. According to the Geneva Conventions, a country that conducts illegally resettlement in the occupied territories commits a crime. Have a look. A settlement was built in Khanlig for the Armenians from abroad paid by the Armenians residing in different countries.

Here is agricultural equipment produced in the 1950s. Armenians living abroad have committed a crime. The Armenians were brought here from abroad and resettled on our lands. After demolishing the houses of the Azerbaijanis in Khanlig settlement, they built homes for the Armenians. This is an Armenian car. They were driving such vehicles. And these are the names of our heroic soldiers - they wrote their names on these houses. Bilasuvar, Shabran, Sabirabad, Shusha, Oguz. This is what you get for illegal resettlement. This is another Armenian car, have a look.

President Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva arrived in Khanlig village of Gubadli, where Armenia had carried out a policy of illegal settlement, and met here with servicemen.

President Ilham Aliyev: Hello, guys.

Soldiers: Thank you!

President Ilham Aliyev: How are things? How are you?

Soldiers: Thank you very much!

President Ilham Aliyev: How is your service?

Soldiers: Excellent. Everything is good.

President Ilham Aliyev: Very good. This is a settlement built by the Armenians in our ancient village. Our houses were destroyed, and then this settlement was built with Armenians' money, those who came from abroad. We are living here now. You are stationed here currently. You are doing your service here. We have returned to our native lands and liberated them on the battlefield. We have driven the enemy out of our lands – thanks to soldiers like you. The whole world saw what Azerbaijani soldiers and Azerbaijani officers are capable of.

Come on, guys, come on here.

Soldiers: Welcome, Mr. President.

President Ilham Aliyev: Great to see you! This is our ancient land. Our people have lived on these lands for centuries.

Soldier: A brave man, what a brave man! Well done!

President Ilham Aliyev: Hello, hello. Let's take a picture afterward.

We showed our strength on the battlefield. We have expelled the Armenians from our lands. We have raised the Azerbaijani flag on our lands. We have fulfilled the greatest wish of the Azerbaijani people on the battlefield, not through negotiations. They were deceiving us. For 27 years, the Armenians built settlements here for themselves and brought Armenians from abroad. Khanlig settlement was given an ugly Armenian name.

Soldiers: Your words are our motto: "We chased them down like dogs".

President Ilham Aliyev: They saw our strength. They thought that they would live in our lands forever and challenge us. We ran out of patience, and I said – charge!

Soldiers: Thank you, long live Azerbaijan! May you always be at the helm!

President Ilham Aliyev: Heroic Azerbaijani soldiers showed their strength to the whole world. I am aware that our combat tactics are now being studied in the world's leading military schools. This is a novelty, a war of the 21st century. We have liberated our lands from occupiers thanks to the professionalism, resolve, national spirit and heroism.

Soldiers: Thanks to your leadership and determination.

President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you.

Soldiers: We are proud of you. Long live Azerbaijan!

President Ilham Aliyev: Long live Azerbaijani soldiers!

Soldiers: Karabakh is Azerbaijan!

President Ilham Aliyev: Let's take a picture.

Soldier: Happy birthday, live to be a hundred, may Allah prolong your life!

Then President Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva left for the city of Gubadli.

President Ilham Aliyev: Two large rivers pass through the territory of Gubadli district: the Hakari River and the Bazarchay River. Here is one of them, have a look. Most likely, this is the Hakari River. This is Ashaghi Mollu village.

- A photo of our martyr Rufat Asgarov. Rest in peace! May Allah rest the souls of all our martyrs in peace!

First lady Mehriban Aliyeva: Rest in peace!

President Ilham Aliyev: Beautiful views of Gubadli district. Another village razed to the ground. We will rebuild everything, including the roads and infrastructure. What a gorgeous view!

That is probably the Bazarchay Rover because the Hakari River flows on one side of Gubadli and the Bazarchay River on the other side. It is also called the Bargushad River.

- Gazyan village. Look, they have written something in Armenian there. It should be dismantled. Let us do it. Bring it down.

- Dilalimushkanli village. This village is also destroyed. All the houses are destroyed. One or two houses remain standing. The enemy lived in them. This is Saray village. Saray village is located near the city of Gubadli. This village is also destroyed.

See what the enemy has done to the city of Gubadli. All buildings are destroyed. They only built a military compound for themselves. This is the city of Gubadli. This was probably their warehouse. Here is another demolished house. The Armenians built a military base at the entrance to the city of Gubadli. The sun has come out. Nature also welcomes and greets us. Rightful owners of this land are here. See what they have done to the city of Gubadli? See what the enemy has left behind?

President Ilham Aliyev raised the Azerbaijani flag in Gubadli.

The head of state delivered remarks there.

Remarks by the President Ilham Aliyev:

- It was raining this morning, but when we reached Gubadli, the sun came out. Nature itself is greeting and welcoming us. Real owners have returned to Gubadli. The liberation of Gubadli from occupation was a historic event. The liberation of Gubadli on October 25 brought us closer to victory. There were fierce battles for Gubadli. We had martyrs. Among them, National Hero Shukur Hamidov, born here in Gubadli, perished as a hero in the battles for his homeland. I awarded the title of a National Hero to Shukur Hamidov for his heroism in the April 2016 battles. May Allah rest his soul in peace! May Allah rest the souls of all our martyrs in peace! Azerbaijani servicemen, including Shukur Hamidov, have been awarded high military orders by the state.

The operation to liberate the Gubadli district took several days. After the liberation of Zangilan on October 20, of course, our next destination was the Gubadli district. The Armenians had built strong fortifications in the city. There are no traces of the city. All buildings have been destroyed and demolished. All the villages and settlements in Jabrayil, Zangilan and Gubadli districts have been devastated along the road. But here, at the entrance to the city, the enemy had set up a military compound. Enemy troops were positioned at these heights. This is why it was not easy to liberate the city of Gubadli. First of all, Armenian fortifications had to be destroyed, and one of them was located in Khanlig settlement. They had built solid fortifications there and turned the Khanlig settlement into a base for themselves. The Armenians living abroad had built a settlement there. But it is Azerbaijani soldiers who are stationed in this settlement now. Armenians were brought here from abroad with the Armenian diaspora's money and were illegally resettled in Gubadli. This is a war crime in itself. The Armenian state will be held accountable for this and all other crimes.

To liberate Gubadli, we first had to capture these elevations because the enemy was constantly firing on our soldiers from those heights. At the same time, we were fired on from the territory of Armenia proper. Azerbaijan did not intend to move into Armenia's territory, and I have repeatedly stated this during the war. They believed that they could use that to their advantage to stop our attack. The distance from here, from the city of Gubadli to the Armenian border over there, is five kilometers. They fired on our soldiers with heavy artillery both from there and from those heights. Therefore, the Gubadli operation required extraordinary professionalism and self-sacrifice. And Azerbaijan’s Army showed that professionalism and self-sacrifice. First of all, we took the heights overlooking the city, the surrounding villages, including Khanlig settlement, Padar, Sariyatag, Mahmudlu villages, and other strategic elevations. Then Azerbaijan’s Armed Forces entered the city and cleared it of the enemy.

The liberation of the Gubadli district and the city of Gubadli gave us a tremendous strategic advantage because the next destination after Gubadli was Lachin district. Every day, I approved a combat operation plan. Daily, the work was summarized and analyzed – to what extent the job was done during that day and what goals we achieved. The road from Gubadli to the southern part of the Lachin district was constantly under fire. Because the road to Lachin district passes right next to Armenia's state border – the distance there is perhaps 10-20 meters, so Armenia was constantly firing on us from that side. Therefore, our military units reached Lachin district's strategic heights by other roads and various mountain paths. Thus, Gulabird, Safiyan and Turklar villages located in the southern part of Lachin district were liberated. In the meantime, the capture of strategic elevations allowed us to keep the Lachin corridor within firing range.

The enemy expected us from there. Of course, the enemy was well aware that the war wouldn’t stop without the liberation of Shusha. After taking over the Lachin district's southern part, the enemy thought that we would advance towards Shusha from there. We also knew that the enemy was awaiting us there. Therefore, we moved towards Shusha from another direction, a direction they did not expect. They are still in disbelief as to how our heroic soldiers and officers approached Shusha through those mountains, valleys and forests, and liberated Shusha from occupation. They were expecting for us both here and in the direction of the Girmizibazar settlement of Khojavand district. But we went towards Shusha in another direction. Approaching Shusha, we liberated several villages, including Sighnag, Chanakhchi and Dashalti. The Gubadli operation was of great importance because it was after Gubadli that we liberated the city of Shusha from occupation. Gubadli was liberated on October 25, and Shusha was liberated on November 8. And the enemy was forced to surrender.

The accomplishments of ours during the war are now studied in the military schools of leading countries. I have detailed information about this. Our foreign partners have informed us that Azerbaijan's military tactics and operations are now studied in the higher military schools of the most developed countries - our modern combat tactics. No-one in the world had used such tactics before us. All of the key factors here were aimed at achieving the goal by inflicting crushing blows to the enemy with minimal losses and virtually destroying the enemy's army, which is precisely what happened. We launched a counter-offensive on September 27 and then switched to the full offensive. We had to liberate our lands. Armenia's provocations had to be stopped.

The killing of innocent people had to be stopped. After the counter-offensive, the attacking side usually suffers more casualties. However, our losses are minimal, given the scale of the war. Every single martyr is irreplaceable. The death of each person is a great tragedy – for their relatives and for the entire nation. But we must also say that we have achieved what we wanted with little losses. This is probably why some people think that this matter could have been resolved earlier. However, it requires great heroism to liberate this territory from the occupation in 44 days - destroying the enemy, eliminating their army and forcing the enemy to surrender.

We tried to build our tactics so that the losses were minimal. At the same time, there were quite a few unexpected steps in our tactics as well. The tactical methods we used are a novelty for the world's military science. More information on this issue will be provided in due course. However, foreign media suggests that this war is and has been seriously analyzed by military experts. Professionalism, heroism, planning, firm resolve, national spirit, technical capabilities – all these factors combined and the unity of the people and the government have preconditioned our victory.

Every day, we were moving forward, and over the course of 44 days, there was not a single day on which we retreated. There was not a single day on which we did not achieve our plan. Every morning, I approved the daily combat plan, which was subsequently analyzed at the end of that day. As a result, we were able to achieve a great victory in a short time and liberate our native lands from the enemy. We have dealt such devastating blows to the enemy that it has not yet been able to recover.

The trilateral statement signed on November 10 was, in fact, a capitulation of the Armenian state. Armenia surrendered, threw in the towel and dropped to its knees. After that, Aghdam, Lachin, and Kalbajar were returned without a single shot being fired. Today, it is Azerbaijani soldiers who are serving in those districts. This is an outstanding achievement. We would definitely have taken those districts by fighting, but we could have suffered many losses, especially in the direction of Aghdam, which was extensively mined. Also, there were several lines of defense.

Moreover, especially if we consider the weather conditions, Kalbajar and Lachin districts' liberation by military means would have been fraught with heavy losses. Winter had already begun, and the roads were frozen. It takes hours to cross into Kalbajar from the Goygol district.

Therefore, the statement signed on November 10 is of great importance. Of course, if we had not liberated a large territory from the invaders, if we hadn't broken the enemy's back and achieved the desired goal of destroying the enemy army, the enemy would not have signed such a humiliating document for them. We forced them, expelled them from our lands, and, as always, I remained true to my word. From the early days of the war, I said that the Armenian leadership must explicitly state when, on what particular date, it would vacate our lands. It had to give us an exact date. If that had happened, we would have stopped the war. But we were not given a date. They carried on with their ugly deeds and occupation and resorted to various tricks to involve foreign countries. If the Armenian leadership had heeded my words and taken the right step, it would not have been such a humiliation. I said that we would go to the end, and we did go to the end. We stopped at the right time. We returned the three districts without a single shot fired, without a single loss. We have restored our territorial integrity.

Today, the Azerbaijani flag is flying in the occupied territories. Today, as Commander-in-Chief, I am meeting with soldiers in these liberated lands. Specific steps have already been taken to restore this region, the Karabakh region. Initial contracts have already been signed. The despised enemy has destroyed everything there. Everything along the road is destroyed – from Jabrayil district to the liberated lands in Gubadli. There is not a single safe building. Only a few buildings remain in Gubadli, where their servicemen and their families used to live. The loathed enemy has destroyed all buildings, houses, historical sites, mosques, and graves. All those crimes are documented.

When I visit these liberated territories and see the atrocities committed by the Armenians, I get further convinced what a great service we have done to ourselves and our entire region. We have caved in the head of Armenian fascism. It is the Armenian fascism that has brought our lands to this plight. We have broken the back of the fascist Armenian state, the terrorist state. We brought it to its knees, so they must draw the right conclusions. Armenian society must draw the correct conclusions. If they still cherish any revenge sentiments, the end will be bitter. If a single bullet is fired here from the other side – the Armenian border is 5 kilometers from here – we will crush them so hard they will forget their own names.

We have achieved our goal. The Victory Parade was held on December 10. In that Victory Parade, we demonstrated the enemy's destroyed military equipment, the trophies we have taken and presented our military potential. We will continue to strengthen our army. Next year's budget is now being discussed. On my initiative, military spending is increasing because we used a significant amount of ammunition and military hardware during the war and it needs to be replenished. At the same time, there are plans to continue purchasing modern equipment. Our army's modernization, our military's combat potential, and our army's professionalism will always be in the spotlight.

We have won a victory! We have driven the enemy out of our lands! But no-one can guarantee that Armenian fascism will not rise again in a few years. Therefore, the Azerbaijani state must always be strong. The Azerbaijani state must always have a powerful army. We know how strong we are. And so does the world. If we had wanted, we could have carried out any military operation not only on our territory but also inside Armenia. We still can. The Armenian side is also aware of that. But we have always respected international law, and I have always said that we don't set our sights on other countries' lands. We must live on our land. We will live here. We have driven the enemy out of our lands, and we will restore this entire region.

Gubadli district is one of the most beautiful parts of the country, and all the necessary restoration work will be planned in a short time. Foreign experts have been involved and invited, and they will do all the appraisal work. Video and photo documents are collected, and the entire extent of damage will be calculated. Our lands have been exploited. Our natural resources have been plundered. A gold deposit in the Zangilan district has been exploited. The same holds true for other liberated territories. The Armenian state will be held to account for all this. In the meantime, all the restoration work will be carried out. We will restore all our cities, settlements and villages. Our people will return there, and we will live on our lands forever. No-one can expel us from our lands ever again.

In my many addresses to the nation before the war, I said that Azerbaijan was a strong country and that we were strong as ever. When I said this, I meant not only our economy but also our military potential. History and the results of the war have proven me right. Azerbaijan had never achieved such a brilliant Victory in its entire history. Azerbaijan had never been as strong in its entire history. Our strength lies in our unity. We have shown unity, we have demonstrated perseverance, we have shown heroism, and as a result, we have crushed the enemy with an iron fist and liberated our native lands. Karabakh is Azerbaijan! Long live Azerbaijani soldiers! Long live Azerbaijan!

Then the head of state and the first lady left for the liberated from occupation Zangilan district.

- President Ilham Aliyev: Zangilan. Zangilan city is close.

In Zangilan, the enemy has destroyed everything too. Look at the destroyed houses. Notice what state this house is in.

President Ilham Aliyev raised the Azerbaijani flag in Zangilan.

President Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva then visited the mosque in Zangilan, destroyed by the hated enemy.

Standing in front of the mosque, President Ilham Aliyev said:

- Notice what the despised enemy has done to the mosque. The enemy has destroyed all our religious sites. The world has been tight-lipped for 30 years. We have repeatedly raised this issue, raised it in the international arena – our historical and religious sites have been destroyed and desecrated. We have shown those images many times. Showing the condition of the Aghdam mosque, Shusha's mosques and other mosques under occupation at the time, we said that the enemy had destroyed and desecrated our religious sites.

After the liberation of Zangilan, a video was circulated of pigs in one of the mosques. The enemy has insulted our religion, insulted all the Muslims. There was a mosque here, but now it is gone. They have destroyed it. Some are now raising the issue of the religious heritage of the Armenian people in the liberated lands now. But why didn't anyone raise the case of our national and religious heritage? Some UNESCO official has recently made a groundless statement that they had allegedly asked us, but Azerbaijan remained silent. We have repeatedly appealed to UNESCO for 30 years, repeatedly stated that our mosques had been destroyed, our historical sites have been devastated, and the Armenians have misappropriated our historical sites. Have they sent a mission here at least once? Has our request been answered at least once?

As soon as the war ended, they started to advocate for the sites of the Armenian people. We are protecting all the sites. We are protecting the places of value for all nationalities, and the world knows that. But you should have a look. There was a mosque here, UNESCO, get over here, come and see this. The Council of Europe - don’t remain silent. Come and see this! All our mosques are destroyed. Is it alright to destroy mosques? Is it not a crime to demolish a mosque? How much longer will this injustice last? How long will this hypocrisy last? How long will these double standards last? How long will this Islamophobia last? It was the Armenians who destroyed it. Can someone positioning oneself as a civilized person and regarded as such by some foreign patrons do this? Can a civilized person keep pigs in a mosque? Let the whole world see this! Let Muslims of the world, the peoples of Muslim countries, see this. What kind of friendship can we talk about with a country that has committed this? Unfortunately, we still hear that some Muslim states refer to Armenia as a friendly country. The executioners who ruled this "friendly country" for 20 years have done this. They came here and destroyed our mosques and insulted us. The whole world should see this. If any claims are made against us, we will respond.

Let international organizations come and see this, reflect this in their reports, condemn the occupying state and see what kind of evil we fought against, expelled this evil from our lands, and threw them out of here. See what happened to our cities. There is not a single safe building. I have come here, all the way from the liberated lands in Jabrayil and Gubadli to Zangilan. There is not a single safe building. All the buildings have been demolished. Our villages have been renamed, and ugly names have been given to them. Our mosques are in this state now. Armenia will be held accountable. It will be held to account! We have expelled them from our lands, destroyed them and their army. I am sure that even after these images, "international officials" trying to criticize us will continue to remain deaf mute. We will restore this mosque, and our citizens will come and worship here, the call to prayer will come from here, and life will return to these lands.

President Ilham Aliyev: Now we are heading from Zangilan back to Baku. Along the way, we enjoy the beautiful nature of Zangilan. See how beautiful these places are. While visiting Gubadli and Zangilan districts, we saw again what the savage enemy has done to our cities and villages. Lands occupied for 30 years have returned to their owners. We are back. We have destroyed the enemy and emerged victorious. After a while, life will return to this region, Inshallah.

Now we are heading for Baku. I say thank you to Mehriban Aliyeva for filming the video. Please show yourself too.

First lady Mehriban Aliyeva: With deep respect and love, your Mehriban.

President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you, dear sisters and brothers. Karabakh is Azerbaijan!