Artem Stepanov: Azerbaijani terrorists in Syria fight against Christians and against Armenians in particular

Artem Stepanov: Azerbaijani terrorists in Syria fight against Christians and against Armenians in particular –


“The participation of native Azerbaijanis in the war in Syria, as well as mercenaries of other countries, is a potential threat not only for the region but for the whole world, at least – for Europe, Russia and the countries of the South Caucasus,” Artem Stepanov’s article, published on the website of “Scientific Society for Caucasus Studies” reads. 

The author notes that the revival of Islam in the territory of the former Soviet republics receives radical forms, and the Syrian conflict provides good opportunities to improve the combat experience. This is especially dangerous in the presence of both open and latent conflicts in the Caucasus region. “According to the data, from three hundred to thousands of so-called “volunteers” have left Azerbaijan for Syria to fight there.” And they fight not for fear but for, as they say, “conscience”, basically killing Christians. As one of the militants subsequently killed by the fighters said, the Azerbaijanis are fighting against the Armenians in Syria,” the article reads. 

The article notes that after the collapse of the Soviet Union the Azerbaijan Popular Front came to power, which opened wide its doors for both the politicized and for fundamentalist Islam.

The author notes that in the meantime, dead bodies of Azerbaijani “mujahideens” are being delivered to Baku from time to time. In May of the last year, Azerbaijanis fighting among the militants delivered another video message calling on their compatriots to commit “jihad in Syria.” Though, according to the Azerbaijani legislation participation of the citizens in any armed unit on foreign territory not obeying to Baku, is a felony and is qualified as a mercenary, however, no one is convicted by this article yet. 

Since the beginning of 2014 the Azerbaijani news agency APA reported about elimination of 24 fighters from the Caspian republic in Syria. In addition, there is information about the elimination of Azerbaijani terrorists in Afghanistan. Thus, in the last week, the media reported about the elimination of 5 Azerbaijani fighters. All of them had previously been involved in the international wanted list.

“All of these events may directly or indirectly affect the aggravation of the situation in Nagorno Karabakh. It’s easy to assume that returning from Syria the fighters will not fail to use their combat experience in fighting against the people of Karabakh, or worse – to provoke a new war. Radical Islamism in Azerbaijan is getting more strength, and no one knows what this will evolve. In this case, combat capability of the Armenian army and its ability to adequately respond to provocation is put in the forefront. And we’re back to where it came – a strategic cooperation with Russia, which plays a significant role in strengthening the security of the NKR and Armenia. Armenia, certainly, is not sitting idly and waiting for someone to defend it from the radical Islamists – by no means,” Artem Stepanov writes.

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