According to officials and experts, Israel has subtly supported Azerbaijan’s attempt to retake Nagorno-Karabakh by providing the country with potent weapons prior to its lightning onslaught last month, which took the ethnic Armenian enclave back under its control.
According to flight tracking data and Armenian diplomats, Azerbaijani military cargo planes frequently flew between an airfield near Nagorno-Karabakh and a southern Israeli airbase just weeks before Azerbaijan began its 24-hour assault on Sept. 19, even as Western governments urged peace talks.
Israeli national interests in the unrest-plagued region south of the Caucasus Mountains were highlighted by the flights, which alarmed Armenian officials in Yerevan, who have long been suspicious of the strategic alliance between Israel and Azerbaijan.
The Associated Press was informed by Armenia’s ambassador to Israel, Arman Akopian, that “for us, it is a major concern that Israeli weapons have been firing at our people.” Akopian said that he recently raised his concern over Israeli weapons shipments to Israeli officials and MPs in a flurry of diplomatic conversations.
He told AP: “I don’t see why Israel shouldn’t be able to express at least some concern for the destiny of people who are being driven from their homeland. Experts estimate that Israel and Turkey provided the majority of the heavy artillery, rocket launchers, and drones used by Azerbaijan in its September offensive.
As a result, the separatist authorities in Armenia were obliged to put down their arms and hold peace discussions about the future of the separatist territory.
According to officials, the Azerbaijani onslaught resulted in the deaths of about 200 Armenians in the enclave, the bulk of whom were combatants, and about 200 Azerbaijani soldiers.
Beyond the unstable 4,400 square kilometer (1,700 square mile) zone, there are consequences.
Over 100,000 people—more than 80% of the enclave’s ethnic Armenian residents—have fled due to the fighting in the last two weeks. The government of Azerbaijan has vowed to uphold the rights of ethnic Armenians.
The exodus has been referred to as “a direct act of ethnic cleansing” by the prime minister of Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan, but the foreign ministry of Azerbaijan vehemently refutes this claim, saying the departures are “personal and individual decisions and have nothing to do with forced relocation.”