sTIBANAKERT, Nagorno Karabakh – Lying on a stretcher, a soldier lies wrapped in gauze. Fifty percent of his body is burned, even in his throat and lungs, says a medic in the back of the ambulance, which drives a seven-hour drive from Nagorno Karabakh to the Armenian capital Yerevan. War broke out about a month ago between Azerbaijan and Armenia over a disputed border region.
An ambulance crept in from Stepanakert between the sirens, as the Azerbaijani bombing of the city returned again after a six-day hiatus. Only the soldier’s burnt lips, a small portion of his nose, and his burnt eyelashes were visible. His hopes for survival are tied to a breathing machine that whistles and is constantly injected by paramedics with morphine and saline.
Reporters have been kept away from the soldiers and the direct impact of the war in recent days, but the armored plans due to the renewed bombardment of Stepanakert led to the The Daily Beast being suddenly found in the back of this ambulance, where an occasional glimpse of the human was given. The consequences of the war.
Kamikaze drones purchased from Israel have been used to devastating effect by Azerbaijan. These small boats also known as loitering munitions are able to monitor targets including tanks and artillery installations or troops before detonating themselves. Larger Turkish drones are also flying high over the disputed area and launching missile strikes.
While the soldier in the ambulance was unable to tell the paramedics how badly he was injured, his severe head wounds and burns are consistent with what they saw with drone strikes, a doctor at Stepanakert Hospital told the Daily Beast.
One medic in the ambulance said, “He has damage on the front line, and we see many of these injuries. We need help here. We need to stop the war. It’s horrible what is happening.”
Before leaving the war zone and entering the zone of relative safety of Armenia, there is a problem with the ventilator. A medic manually begins to pump air into the lungs of wounded soldiers. Since they are about to lose the soldier, the ambulance stops completely, while the driver tries to start the automatic system again. The bombing can be heard from afar.
The mountains echo out, making it difficult to tell if the bombing was near or far, but this does not mask the annoyance of the crew, who was forced to stop amid another detonation.
A bloody war is in the making
War broke out in Nagorno Karabakh, which was almost completely controlled by the self-proclaimed Republic of Artsakh, on September 27. Artsakh is a small mountain enclave in the Caucasus that is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but has been claiming independence for nearly 30 years. The population is almost entirely of Armenian origin and Armenia supports the breakaway state. The republic declared its independence after the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan, which lasted from the late 1980s to 1994, and claimed 30,000 lives.
Since then, the dispute over the region has continued. The two sides fought a four-day war in 2016, but the current battles are the worst fighting the region has seen since the devastating war of the 1990s. Armenia says it has lost about 900 soldiers, while Azerbaijan has not announced the number of dead. However, According to Russian President Vladimir PutinNearly 5,000 people have already been killed, and there are many reports of heavy losses in military equipment such as tanks on both sides despite the ceasefire negotiated in Moscow with Russia as the main mediator.
The ceasefire has already been broken and the crisis is of global significance. Nagorno Karabakh is located next to regional great powers such as Turkey, which support Azerbaijan militarily and politically in the conflict. Meanwhile, Russia has a defense agreement with Armenia, which makes the situation tense. Artsakh Republic is also located next to Iran, and it is a major player in the region.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said, “We must be careful that the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan does not turn into a regional war.” BBC.
“We declared the tanks dead a long time ago without this happening … But the tanks have not performed well in the current crisis“
– Ian Williams, Missile Defense Expert
The war is also attracting growing interest in Washington, D.C. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had leaders from both Azerbaijan and Armenia for seemingly fruitless talks, while Senator Ed Markey (a Democrat of Massachusetts), among others, called for an immediate ceasefire.
Marki said, “Azerbaijani hostilities, fully supported by Turkey, must stop in Nagorno Karabakh and against Armenia.” “As Azerbaijan continues its attempts to resolve this conflict through the illegal use of military force, the international community will have no choice but to move to recognize the independence of the Artsakh Republic.”
He is dying
Back in the ambulance, the soldier is fighting for his life. Occasionally, he seems to regain consciousness just long enough to be out of pain. Before the ambulance took off towards the Armenian capital Yerevan, the stream of ambulances carrying soldiers with empty gazes and missing limbs from Stepanakert had to pause. Sirens started shouting over Stepanakert for the first time in several days, as Azerbaijani forces bombarded the city with what they said were aircraft and artillery. Doctors, nurses and patients ran to the basement of a city hospital as explosions were heard nearby, and the basement shook.
“We can see them on our radar, however [the Turkish drones] Fly too high for us to drop them“
– Vladimir Vartanyan, military analyst of the Artsakh Republic
One of the doctors in the basement, who did not want to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media, told The Daily Beast that about 1,000 soldiers and 300 to 400 civilians had been announced dead in three hospitals in Artsakh, as far as he was aware. These figures indicate that many more than 900 casualties were officially reported by the Ministry of Defense in Artsakh, especially since some of the bodies of the soldiers were not recovered from the front lines.
“We see many soldiers with burns and head injuries,” the doctor says, pointing to a room in the bunker where a soldier with a severe brain injury is undergoing surgery. Turkish drones used by Azerbaijan often cause brain damage in soldiers.
He refers to Azerbaijan’s use of Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 UAVs, which penetrate Artsakh’s defenses, despite assistance from Armenia.
“We can’t drop it”
Open source Collect analysis by Forbes magazine Drone destruction tracked approximately 200 tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers, as well as 300 soft-skinned military vehicles as well as radars, short-range air defense systems and missile launch vehicles.
Armenians do not have an army of drones to respond to Azerbaijani targets.
In an interview with The Daily Beast, Suren Sarumyan, a spokesman for the Defense Ministry in Artsakh, claimed that the Republic of Artsakh had managed to shoot down many drones, but agreed that unmanned aerial attack vehicles were causing casualties.
Sarumyan said, “Drones have an impact on the front lines, but our soldiers are among the strongest in the world because they stand firmly and fight hard,” Sarumyan said, “The secret of this is that our soldiers are defending their homes, which is very cool. It’s hard to defeat. Them, even with all the drones in the world. “
While the military claims it can shoot down drones like Bayraktar TB2, Vladimir Vartanian, a military analyst who works in the press department of the Artsakh Republic, disagrees.
“We can see them on our radar, however [the Turkish drones] It flies so high that we don’t let them shoot them down. ”He explained that a lot of Artsakh’s defenses are leftovers from 1991 to 1994 and are in desperate need of updating“ We are using everything we have now because this is all-out war. ”“ In my opinion, we need to buy some Russian systems that have experience shooting down these drones in Syria.
With the news that Azerbaijan has achieved major territorial gains in the southern part of Nagorno Karabakh, Vartanian said: “It is necessary that we start to bring them down very quickly.”
And Azerbaijan had confirmed earlier that it was using Turkish drones in the war, according to it Eye of the Middle East.
Ian Williams, an expert on missile defense and missile proliferation with the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told The Daily Beast that what we’re seeing now in Nagorno-Karabakh is the evolution of the war.
We had long since declared the tanks dead without this happening. “But the Armenian tanks have not fare well in the current crisis,” said Williams. “Drones are relatively cheap for countries that normally cannot afford air support. The current crisis shows us the kind of damage they can inflict on the adversary without drones.”
It might not
A paramedic holds the soldier’s head as the ambulance winds its way up and down the mountains. The ventilator works again, and the sound of air being pumped into the soldier’s lungs resumes. On the way to Yerevan, a medic received the news of the death of a friend near the front line. An atmosphere of sadness hangs over ambulances as news of air strikes continues in several cities in the Republic of Artsakh.
As Yerevan approaches, the soldier begins to involuntarily move his arms as his chest spasms. The situation was alleviated by another morphine shot, but the paramedic shakes his head when asked if the soldier will be safe once he reaches the hospital in the capital of Armenia.
“The injuries could be severe,” he says.