Armenian forces have reclaimed the tactical initiative in the battle for the Nagorno-Karabakh region and conducted several counter-attacks taking back positions earlier captured by Azerbaijan on the Jabrayil front on the evening of October 7. Later, on the morning of October 8, the Armenian Defense Ministry announced that Azerbaijani forces had launched a military offensive in the area, which had been repelled.
“Early in the morning, at 08:30, the enemy attempted an attack in the southern direction, but after losing 3 units of military equipment and about 20 soldiers, the enemy escaped from the battlefield near Jabrayil,” the representative of the Armenian Ministry of Defense Artsrun Hovhannisyan said.
“Fighting continues. our troops are performing their tasks brilliantly. We have some good luck, but heavy fighting continues,” he said.
It should be noted that, according to the Armenian side, Jabrayil remains a contested area despite Azerbaijani claims that it had been captured. In their turn, Baku says that all Armenian reports are fake news and their statements about retaking some positions just confirm that they have lost them.
Meanwhile, the Azerbaijani military released videos showing captured Armenian positions in the villages of Shaybey, Shukurbeyli and Chaxirli. Armenian forces abandoned three T-72 battle tanks, three D-30 howitzers as well as many military vehicles and trucks, most of them were damaged to some extent.
As of October 8, the Turkish-backed advance by Azerbaijan on Karabakh slowed down due to the fierce resistance of Armenian forces, complex mountain terrain and bad weather. Nonetheless, the Azerbaijani leadership and its Big Brothers in Turkey demonstrate no indication of readiness for a new prolonged ceasefire and the resumption of negotiations. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said that the “attempt to achieve the ceasefire” could be made only after the Armenian side provides an official schedule of the withdrawal of its forces from the contested region, which should be approved by the OSCE Minsk group. The Azerbaijani military, with help from Turkey, still maintains full air dominance and has an upper hand in artillery, heavy military equipment and manpower. Therefore, it seeks to develop the initial success gained in the first week of the war and further deliver a devastating blow to Armenian forces and then dismantle the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. On the other hand, Armenian forces deployed in the contested region lack modern air-defense measures, heavy equipment and artillery. They compensate this with a wide network of fortified positions in the mountain area and the better combat readiness of their infantry.
More and more evidence of Turkish involvement in the conflict surfaces online. After multiple photos and videos with Turkish-backed Syrian militants deploying to the combat zone, satellite images show Turkish F-16 jets on the airbase near Azerbaijan’s Ganza. The satellite images confirm that as of October 3, Turkish warplanes were still there. On September 29, Armenia announced that one of its Su-25 fighter jets had been shot down by a Turkish F-16 that had taken off from Ganja. At that time, Turkey and Azerbaijan denounced these claims as fake news. Nonetheless, it is clear that Turkey at least had the theoretical opportunity to have done so.
The Azerbaijani leadership and its Turkish ally cannot agree on a new ceasefire and negotiations in Karabakh without claiming at least a PR victory in the conflict otherwise this may lead to a political crisis in Azerbaijan. Society, which was put in a state of military hysteria, will not accept such a decision from their government. Thus, it is expected that if Azerbaijan experiences more difficulties in the conflict and is not able to develop momentum, Turkish involvement in the conflict will grow further.