Second ceasefire of 17/10 also failed; sides blame each other and without ceasefire monitoring mechanism impossible to be sure but common sense suggests AZ has military advantage and therefore more to gain from continuation. 1/9
Intense fighting continued in north and southern areas of front, and Ilham Aliyev announced today recapture of another 13 villages in Jebrayil; also yesterday historically symbolic Khudaferin Bridges, constructed 11-13th centuries across River Aras. 2/9
Seems clear that AZ advance has reached halfway point between former Line of Contact and ARM border; mobilisation of all men of military age reported in Meghri, Kajaran, in southern ARM region of Syunik. 3/9
Some estimates suggest AZ has recaptured 8-15% or maybe more of ARM-controlled territory. If AZ territorial gains are as large as reported, targeting the Lachin corridor may be possible. 4/9
AZ forces clearly have upper hand in lower-lying areas; uncertain whether combat on higher ground could see emergence of asymmetric dynamics with higher costs for the larger party, stalemate + winter stalling of conflict. 5/9
If aim was to recapture significant territories to re-enter talks with leverage, that has been achieved – continued fighting = military goals are more ambitious. I. Aliyev emphasises Basic Principles as basis for new talks, especially those dealing with withdrawals. 6/9
ARM approach to Basic Principles, if accepted as basis to continue (hard to see alternatives), likely stresses Principles as package, incl interim status for NK and final status vote. Either way new security system crucial – both for Armenians and for Azerbaijani returnees. 7/9
Tonight UN Security Council will meet for closed discussion of the conflict, at initiative of the 3 Minsk Group co-Chairs, France, Russia and US. Both Ilham Aliyev and Nikol Pashinyan today publicly expressed willingness to meet for talks in Moscow (or elsewhere).
After 2 failed ceasefires, outlook is bleak. Can only hope that this devastating war can be brought to an end before loss of even more lives on all sides.
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