Neglects to say Azeri mercenaries’ role in rebel movement.
UNITED NATIONS—A day after assuming its temporary–month-long– seat on the United Nations Security Council, Azerbaijan used its pulpit to attack Armenia by accusing it of settling Syrian Armenian refugees in the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, reported Agence France Presse.
Azerbaijan’s UN ambassador said Armenia had started a “very dangerous process” by moving Syrian Armenians into Nagorno-Karabakh.
In August, Azeri news sources, citing Syrian opposition Web sites, reported that there are 60 Azeris among the ranks of the many different armed rebel groups battling the Syrian government army. The sources also reported that some 30 Azeris have been killed during clashes.
According to the same source, the great majority of the Azerbaijani fighters are members of a sabotage unit called Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar, whose leader is probably an Azerbaijani, Abu Yahan.
News sources in Azerbaijan reported in mid-July that “There are 400 Azerbaijanis fighting among the terrorist groups in Syria, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, of which 3 are women.”
Armenia says it has accepted more than 10,000 Armenians from Syria. But Armenia’s UN envoy said claims they have been moved into Nagorno-Karabakh are “lies and distortion.”
“We continue to receive the reports testifying to purposeful (Armenian) attempts aimed at encouraging some categories of Syrian refugees to move to other conflict affected areas,” Azerbaijan’s UN envoy Agshin Mehdiyev told a news conference.
“We have information that they already started it — settlement of Syrian refugees in occupied territories — and of course it is a very dangerous process with unpredictable consequences,” added Mehdiyev, who is the UN Security Council president for October.
Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov raised the Syrian Armenians issue in a speech to the UN General Assembly last week.
Mammadyarov said reports of Syrian Armenians being moved into Nagorno-Karabakh “provide yet more evidence of Armenia’s deliberate policy of annexation of Azerbaijani lands.”
Armenia’s UN ambassador Garen Nazarian told AFP that Azerbaijan was “using the Syrian crisis for political goals.” He described the Azerbaijan claims as “lies and distortion.”
Armenia’s Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian told the General Assembly last week that his country was “alarmed” by the crisis in Syria.
“The number of refugees Armenia continues to receive already exceeds 10,000, but tens of thousands of Syrian-Armenians still remain in that country,” he said.