On 15 January official reports about the OSCE Minsk Group’s ceasefire monitoring mission were made public. This is the first major monitoring operation since the start of this year, and apparently went through without any incidents according to the Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Defence, as well as Nagnorno Karabakh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The monitoring took place near the abandoned village of Levonarkh (also called Goyarx in Azeri). The operation from the Nagorno Karabakh side was led by Field Assistants Mihal Olaru and Simon Tiller, from Moldova and United Kingdom respectively. While from the Azeri side it Ghenadie Petrica (Moldova) and Martin Schuster (Germany) carried out the monitoring. There have been reports of Azerbaijan not leading the OSCE representatives to the monitoring areas, nonetheless, the representatives from both sides were able to carry out their mission.
A view of the military positions around which the monitoring was conducted
Left: Armenian positions near monitoring area. Right: Azeri positions near monitoring area.
The area around Levonarkh was subject to major combat during the 1990’s and again during the Four-day War of 2016. It is worth mentioning that the Azeri side has carried extensive efforts to lengthen and extend its side of trenches and military positions, particularly during the lapse of time from 2009-2010, and once more between the winter of 2016 and spring of 2017. The Armenian side has been carried out less modifications on its side, possibly due to an already extensive network and more favourable ground.
The modification of Azeri trenches in the area between 2009-2017