In the morning of October 04, a civilian was killed as a result of massive missile attacks launched by the armed forces of Armenia against the densely populated residential areas of the city of Ganja, the second largest city of Azerbaijan (60 km from the frontline) from the territory of Armenia.
Rocket artillery attacks hitting Ganja’s Grand Bazar shopping mall on October 5, reportedly wounded three people who were hospitalized. According to the Human Rights Watch report these explosive weapons, which are inaccurate and have wide-area effects, are indiscriminate in populated areas.
At about 1:50 a.m. on October 11, Armenian forces fired a Scud-B ballistic missile that detonated in a residential neighborhood between Ganja’s parallel streets of Alakbar bay Rafibayli and H. Aliyev Avenue, killing 10 civilians and wounding 34 others, according to residents and official sources. Human Rights Watch observed a massive crater and more than 20 damaged or destroyed buildings in the area, behind a row of multi-story commercial buildings facing Aliyev Avenue, close to a small park.
Two witnesses, Akifa Bayramova, 63, and Shargiya Dashdamirova, 68, interviewed separately, said the explosion buried them and that they had to be pulled out of the rubble. Bayramova estimated that at least 60 families had lived in the buildings that were damaged or destroyed. Dashdamirova said she was still “covered in bruises” and had difficulty walking 10 days after the attack, when Human Rights Watch spoke to her. Her home was completely destroyed.
Saadat Alasgarova, 43, said the attack killed her brother-in-law, his wife, and their son, destroyed their two-story home, and killed seven other people.
ANAMA said that it recovered remnants of a Scud-B ballistic missile at the site. Based on images of the remnants tweeted by an Azerbaijan government official, an independent weapons analyst also identified it as a Scud-B.
At about 1 a.m. on October 17, ballistic missiles hit two residential neighborhoods in Ganja, killing 21 civilians, including five who had died of their wounds after the attack as of November 6, according to residents and official sources.
One missile, which ANAMA identified as a Scud-B, hit the residential Mukhtar Hajiev Street. Human Rights Watch interviewed 13 residents who were at home at the time of attack, and observed 10 houses destroyed and over 20 damaged at the site. Shaira Guliyeva, 47, whose home was next to the impact crater said: We found our neighbor’s leg in what used to be our kitchen. [Someone’s] intestines were found on a telephone wire. Two children were killed in a neighboring house – their bedroom was completely destroyed, so the family could not even recover the bodies.
Guliyeva said that her nephew, Arthur Guliyev, 13, had to be dug out after the attack and died a week later and that her sister, Gulnara, was seriously injured and remained in the hospital as of November 6. She said that flying debris also injured her and her mother.
Fakhriya Aliyeva, 20, whose house was destroyed, said her neighbors Zuleiha Shakhnazarova and Royal Shakhnazarov and their 16-month-old daughter Madina Shakhnazarli were killed, leaving their 3-year-old daughter in her grandparents’ care. Aliyeva said Madina’s “body was found under the debris of their house and her mother’s [severed] head was found in the courtyard.”
Timur Sarkarov said the explosion destroyed his father’s home, killing his father, sister, brother, and two nieces and leaving three survivors wounded and traumatized, including another brother, who lost his hearing.
Ramiz Gahramanov was home when the strike killed his daughter, daughter-in-law, and two grandsons, ages 6 and 11, and destroyed his two-story home. After the attack, he said he had to identify his family from pieces of their hair and body parts.
Mahir Bagirov, 55 and Bahar Bagirova, 53, had lived at their house with their daughter Ilaha Hamzayeva and her three children, ages 9, 7, and 2, when it was destroyed in the attack. Hamzayeva, 29, said that each night since the attack, she “cannot stop shaking” and her toddler “barely eats anything… [and] keeps saying ‘Mama, bomb.’”
Almost simultaneously with the attack on Mukhtar Hajiev Street, a second Scud-B missile hit the Avtozavod neighborhood on Suleyman Rustem primary road. The attack destroyed or left uninhabitable 15 family homes and damaged 40 to 50 others, residents said. Human Rights Watch observed a large crater and dozens of damaged or destroyed residential buildings and munition remnants scattered at the blast site on November 7, and other missile remnants at the ANAMA headquarters in Baku on November 4.
Human Rights Watch interviewed nine Avtozavod neighborhood residents, including Farhad Heydarov, 64, who showed his house with destroyed doors, windows, and roof and pointed out a building where he said a woman named Maral and her granddaughter were killed. Basti Jafarova, 62, said she was treated in the same hospital room where Maral died.
Jafarova’s 10 family members suffered cuts after the blast, which tore off their roof. Two members of the extended Mammadov family said that the explosion destroyed three homes where they and nine other family members lived, and killed two relatives, Elman Mammadov, 52, and his sister-in-law Aybaniz Mammadova, 40. Azad Jafarov, 30, said the explosion destroyed her house and embedded pieces of a plastic window frame in her body, causing “horrible pain.”