Azerbaijan encroaches into Georgian territory: bellingcat

Azerbaijan encroaches into Georgian territory: bellingcat

PanARMENIAN.Net - Azerbaijan has strengthened its position on new heights on the peak of the Babakyar mountains, which is situated within Georgian territory, according to an analysis by bellingcat.

The Babakyar mountains includes territory from all the three South Caucasian countries - Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia.

Azerbaijani media outlets reported back in April 2019 that strategic heights on the border with Armenia have been taken under their government’s control.

Azerbaijan’s Chief of Staff of the State Border Service, Major General Elchin Ibrahimov, mentioned in his statement that Azerbaijan has “advanced on the contact line in several directions and gained a foothold in strategically important heights”. In viewing freely-available satellite imagery on Google Earth, however, it can be seen that the Azerbaijani military advance occurred within Georgian territory, says the analysis.

"Azerbaijan’s fortification of their positions has moved northward, across the border into Georgian territory. Azerbaijan took control of this new peak in April 2019, judging from available satellite imagery. While Azerbaijani officials have not been clear about the direction of the positions, some Russian-language media outlets have reported that Georgian territory was encroached upon in the recent strategic moves," the investigative journalism website reveals.

Georgia and Azerbaijan’s academic war over the David Gareji monastery has brought the sacred site under Azerbaijani control, making another border dispute between the neighbors in the south Caucasus. In April 2019, Azerbaijani border guards closed the entrance to the monastery for Georgian monks in response to the Georgian President’s visit to the Azerbaijani side of the complex which falls under the unofficial delimited side of the border of Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan attests that the demarcation of the borders should pass at the top of the mountain, which includes the whole monastery, and that the uninvited visit by the President of Georgia was the reason for the Azerbaijani response.

PanARMENIAN.Net reported back in January 2017 that Azerbaijan had built defense facilities and strongholds which sank into the territory of Georgia, beginning from the crossroad of Armenia-Georgia-Azerbaijan border and stretching to the Red Bridge checkpoint. Some 6,5 km long, the area covers around 800-1000 hectares.

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