Since the fall of the USSR, this mountainous territory of the Caucasus has been bitterly disputed. A month after reporting from the Armenian side, we met the other side.

We had arrived in sight of the Armenian village of Khanlig, taken without a fight a few days earlier. In the small white houses emptied of their inhabitants, the Azeri soldiers had already established their barracks. But in front of the school, an embankment and empty ammunition boxes still marked the old position of the Armenian artillery. The Azerbaijani, she was stationed on the heights. While a round of 130 mm shells tore the sky to fly over the mountains, Colonel Samir, whose black Toyota pick-up had just opened the way for us, thought it useful to say: “ It is very precise. “

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Azeri cannons were targeting the Lachine Corridor, the umbilical cord that connects Armenia to Karabakh and allows it to supply it with weapons. It was the last bulwark. The pincers that targeted Stepanakert, the capital of Nagorno-Karabakh, and Choucha, the historic city, with its cathedral, was in the process of being closed. If the front gives way here, Azerbaijan will win… And Azerbaijan will win.

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But this Monday, November 2, the debonair way with which Colonel Samir walked the battlefield, bareheaded and without a bulletproof vest, already indicated that victory was near. To explore the Fizuli district in southern Karabakh, we rushed through the anti-tank ditches which, very recently, were the front line. Armored vehicles and charred pick-ups still lined a road smashed by shells. When history accelerates, even the most advanced technology struggles to keep up, and the telephone operator persists (…)

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