Hours after Azerbaijani forces lifted a blockade they had imposed since Wednesday on a major highway in Syunik, they opened fire at Armenian civilian positions near the Kut village of the Gegharkunik Province.
The head of the Kut village Sima Chitchyan told Armenpress on Saturday that on Friday evening between 10 and 11 (local time) Azerbaijani forces opened fire at residences causing structural damage.
Chitchyan believes that the Azerbaijani forces deliberately fired toward the village.
“Fortunately, no one was out at that time and no one was injured,” Chitchyan told Armenpress. “They fired with various firearms—rifles and machine guns—after which no other incidents were registered. At the moment the situation in the village is calm.”
Armenia’s National Security Service announced Friday that the Goris-Vorotan and Shurnukh-Karmrakar sections of the Goris-Kapan interstate road, which was blocked by Azerbaijani forces since Wednesday have reopened, Azatutyun.am’s Armenian Service reported.
“The Goris-Kapan interstate road is open for the movement of all types of vehicles and the free movement of citizens,” the NSS said in a statement.
The news of the opening was also confirmed by Kapan Mayor Gevorg Parsyan, who told Armenpress that the road was open.
The section from Shurnukh to Kapan had been closed by Azerbaijani forces since Wednesday night, as a result of which Armenians traveling in vehicles were under siege. Later those vehicles were brought out of the jam with through Russian mediation efforts. Azerbaijanis had closed the section from Goris to Karahunj and Vorotan since Thursday morning.
The NSS reported that the border troops and the border guards of the Russian Federal Security Service were holding talks with the Azerbaijani side to reopen the road.
Commander of the NSS Border Troops, Colonel Arman Maralchyan told Armenpress on Saturday that no checkpoint has been set up on the Goris-Kapan highway and traffic for all types of vehicles has been restored, countering claims that a joint Russian-Azerbaijani checkpoints were monitoring the road.
The Artsakh Defense Ministry said on Saturday that Russian peacekeepers in Artsakh have ensured the safe transfer of construction equipment and materials, following the opening of the Goris-Kapan highway.
The Russian peacekeeping troops’ military policy unit accompanied the vehicles which transferred the material and equipment on Shushi-Karmir Shuka route, the Russian defense ministry said.
The closure not only caused massive traffic jams for local travelers, but also for cargo and transport vehicles coming in from Iran.
Armenia’s Economy Minister Vahan Kerobyan said that while trucks from Iran had no problem entering Armenia, but roads leading to Yerevan had been blocked, forcing the trucks to take an alternate route, which he said were not conducive for heavy vehicles.
Iran’s Embassy in Yerevan voiced concerns over the closure of the road by Azerbaijani forces.
“We are hopeful that in conjunction with the ongoing negotiations over solving the existing disputes regarding the use of the Kapan-Goris route, the improvement and development works of alternative routes will swiftly take place, so that the conditions return to normal both from perspective of Armenia’s citizens and our commercial relations with Armenia,” Iran’s embassy said in a press statement Thursday.
Access to food and medical services have been severely restricted for the population of in the Syunik Province as a result of the Azerbaijani blockade, said Armenia’s Human Rights Defender Arman Tatoyan in a statement.
“Specifically, passage from the villages of Shurnukh, Vorotan and Bardzravan near Goris and the Nor Arachadzor village near Kapan with other areas in Armenia has been significantly restricted as a result of the illegal blockade of two sections of the Goris-Kapan interstate road of by Azerbaijani armed servicemen,” added Tatoyan, who called the closure “blatantly criminal.”
According to Armenia’s Defense Ministry, as a result of the 44-day war, some parts of the 21-kilometer section of the Goris-Kapan road are under consideration during talks on border demarcation, which is why Russian border guards have been deployed in the area since the end of last year.