BERDZOR, Artsakh—Earlier this month, Armenian around the world celebrated the 25th anniversary of the liberation Shushi by Karabakh Self-Defense forces. This critically important battle paved the way for several other strategically important victories, among them the liberation of Lachin, now Berdzor, which created a direct land link with Armenia.
A week-long battle for the liberation of Berdzor culminated in the area’s final liberation on May 18, 1992.
Lachin offered what many called “a road to life,” as transport of important—and life-saving—materials became easier, ending a blockade that had impeded the flow of supplies to Artsakh.
Electricity and gas supplies were halted. Ammunition, food and medicine were delivered from Armenia by civil aviation, the flight becoming possible after liberation of Khojalu, where the only airport in Karabakh was located.
On May 13, 1992, the Armenian forces continued concentrating near Zarasly settlement located between Shushi and Lachin. The communication with Lachin was cut off, while its hospital, school and building of local administration were destructed.
On May 15, Armenian detachments attacked upland Gulablu settlement of Aghdam region. Azerbaijani troops, which had numerical and positional advantages, repelled the attack. The enemy’s army fired at civilians of Stepanakert and other Armenian settlements from high levels of Gulablu.
On May 17, the Armenian forces rebuffed the Azerbaijani army’s attack on Shushi with participation of 1,000 soldiers through the support of 20 tanks and other armored vehicles.
According to the Artsakh defense army, fire exchanges took place in Lachin between the Azerbaijani armed detachments and local Kurds. However, as soon as traffic through a bypass road from Berdzor to Goris region was resumed, the Azerbaijani detachments started urgently leaving Lachin.
On May 18, Armenian then-Defense Minister Vazgen Sargsyan told a parliament sitting in Armenia that the road linking Nagorno Karabakh with Armenia is open. A representative of the Azerbaijani defense ministry admitted fall of Lachin in the second half of May 18.
It would several years after the cease fire agreement in 1994 that a Goris-Stepanakert highway was constructed through the efforts of the Armenia Fund. Today, that highway serves as the main gateway to Artsakh, not only for commerce and transport, but also for tourists, whose numbers have exponentially increased throughout the years.
As we mark the 25th anniversary of the liberation of Berdzor, we bow our heads to the heroes of that critical battle, who ensured a victory in the Artsakh Liberation War.