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The large-scale war unleashed by Azerbaijan on September 27 is accompanied by information propaganda against Armenia. The InfoCheck Center presents those fake theses that have been circulated the most in recent days by the initiative of the adversary.
Aliyev’s announcement and the start of the information campaign
It should be noted that the Azerbaijani propaganda began to intensify after Ilham Aliyev’s interview with the media on September 19, when the latter accused the Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan of carrying out various provocations in order to aggravate the Karabakh conflict. Two days after the mentioned statement, on September 21, the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan issued a statement about Mammadov Elshan Ali oglu, a soldier killed on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, claiming that the soldier was killed by an “Armenian bullet.” This news spread in the Azerbaijani media with unprecedented speed, contradicting the common fact that the adversary is usually silent about its losses.
The Ministry of Defense of Armenia denied the opponent's assertion. Press Secretary of the Ministry of Defense Shushan Stepanyan mentioned that the Armenian side has no information about the killed soldier.
“We have repeatedly stated that the lack of risk reduction mechanisms on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border is unacceptable and contributes to the accession of tension. As for the victim, we do not have such information,” the spokesperson said.
Fake thesis of the deployment of Kurdish-Syrian militants in Artsakh
The involvement of Kurdish-Syrian militants in the Artsakh Defense Army is a thesis regularly circulated by the Azerbaijani side, which has been reproduced in recent days with a new range and “evidence.” From the very beginning, the Egyptian media wrote about this. The latter reported that the militants of Kurdish Workers’ Party (KWP) were being transmitted through the territory of Iran, from Syria to Armenia. Shortly after the Azeri-Turkish media started writing about it as well.
- Day.az, oxu.az, baku.ws and other Azeri news sites published an article titled “Syrian terrorists as a part of the Armenian occupation forces,” attaching a photo from the gathering of the “Armenian Brigade after Nubar Ozanyan” in Syria on the anniversary of the Armenian Genocide in 2019.
- Derin Dusunce, on his Twitter microblog, published a photo of Serbian actor-producer Milo Bikovic, noting that “ mercenary of Serbian origin, Aleksa Jurich, was noticed in Armenia.” In reality, the photo was just a snap from the movie scene “Kosare.” Bikovich himself responded to the misinformation.
- The Turkish CNNTÜRK had prepared an 8-minute article about the KWP militants “fighting” in Artsakh. During the report, footage was published, where allegedly KWP militants are fighting together with “ASALA” in Artsakh. Both of the published photos were fake. In the first case, the authors confused the flag of the Colombian National Army (FARC) with the tricolor of the Republic of Armenia.
The second photo, which allegedly “proved” the claim that the militants are fighting in Artsakh, was again a photo taken in 2019 of the gathering of the "Armenian Brigade after Nubar Ozanyan" in Syria.
We can surely state no evidence was presented that either Kurdish or Syrian militants took part in the war in Artsakh.
Armenia uses prohibited military weapons against Azerbaijan
Using cluster munitions banned by the international convention against the civilian population of Artsakh (as evidenced by the authoritative Amnesty International and Halo Trust), Azerbaijan accuses the Armenian Armed Forces of the same action without providing any evidence.
- Assistant to the President of Azerbaijan Hikmet Hajiyev claimed in his Twitter microblog that Armenia had hit the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan gas pipeline with cluster bombs, attaching photos as evidence. Interestingly, throughout the region, missile systems and ammunition visible in the photo are only available in the arsenal of Azerbaijan. Armenia did not buy such weapons from Israel.
- The next “evidence” of the Azerbaijani side referred to the missiles allegedly launched from Armenia on the industrial city of Mingechaur. On this occasion, a video was spread showing how the Azerbaijani Air Defense Forces shot down missiles fired from the Armenian side.The video was actually shot in October 2018, in Israel. In the footage, the Israeli air defense missiles hit the rockets fired from Gaza Strip by the Palestinians.
Old theses about the concentration of troops in Syria
The next news actively circulating in the information field was that Armenia had sent at least 450 servicemen to Syria in order to fight against the Turkish army. Azerbaijani news sites wrote about this, referring to the Israeli NZİV.net. It was also reported that the coordination of the actions of the Armenian mercenaries was carried out by the Syrian military intelligence general Mukhsan Nafnuf.
It should be noted that this news regularly appears in the information field. In 2018, Deputy Minister of Defense Gabriel Balayan, in one occasion, mentioned that it is not a question of a military group or a subdivision of the Armed Forces, but rather of humanitarian specialists, mainly medical staff and engineers. According to the latter, the specialists will help the residents of Aleppo, particularly the Syrian-Armenian community, to try to be useful to the civilian population with their professional knowledge. The Ministry of Defense also presented the legal explanations for sending a group to Syria.
It should be noted that 450 specialists of the humanitarian group have never been to Syria at the same time: as a rule, the groups consist of 70 members and they constantly replace each other. The allegations about the coordination of the Syrian military intelligence general are fake as well, as the group of specialists is under the supervision of Armenia exclusively.
Thesis of mass evacuation of the population of Artsakh
- On September 24, news about mass evacuation was spread through social networks. A “document” was sent to the Armenian users through messengers of different applications on behalf of the Artsakh Defense Army saying that they should be ready for an “emergency evacuation.” It should be noted that the spread document was fake, which was also confirmed by the Defense Army.
- To show the rightfulness of evacuation a video was released in which the army of volunteers moving to Artsakh was presented as a group of people leaving the country.
- During the third attempt, the words of the RA Ambassador to Russia Vardan Toghanyan were distorted. Quoting an excerpt from the ambassador's interview with “Echo of Moscow,” it was mentioned that Armenia is developing a plan to evacuate the population of Nagorno Karabakh. In reality, while speaking about the mobilization process, V. Toghanyan emphasizes that an “air alarm” is being announced in Stepanakert; people are hiding in basements and bomb shelters. There is no mention of evacuation here.
Exaggerated data on the losses of the Armenian army
After the war unleashed by the Azerbaijani forces, many rumors appeared on the field about the fake successes registered by the enemy.
- Through “WhatsApp” and “Viber” applications, voice messages were sent to the users in Armenia and Artsakh, in which, by “quoting” Lieutenant Colonel Zarzand, they reported: “the Armenian troops are retreating. The road leading to Armenia will be blocked soon.” This voice message was another Azerbaijani lie.
- The Azeri media, citing their military sources, wrote that a bunker with Armenian officers and generals was destroyed by a Harop fighter UAV. The photo presented by the media as evidence was at least 4 years old. It appeared on the Internet back in 2016. It should be noted that the Artsakh Defense Army, in its turn, described the spread news as absolute misinformation.
- On September 28, the enemy spread information claiming that Lieutenant Colonel Lernik Babayan was killed in Talish. On the following day, a video of Lieutenant Colonel Lernik Babayan was published, where the latter commented on the news about his “death.”
- After the President of the Republic of Artsakh Arayik Harutyunyan announced about leaving for the front line, the next day, the Azerbaijani media was flooded with news that the latter had been injured. Armiya.az, in particular, wrote that there was information that the building of the Artsakh National Security Service was hit, as a result of which the President was wounded, and the accompanying bodyguards were killed. After this news, Arayik Harutyunyan has appeared many times in video messages and press conferences.