Web Desk March 20, 2021

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev marked the Nowruz holiday Saturday by lighting a ceremonial fire outside Shusha, a culturally revered city that Azerbaijan liberated from Armenian forces in last autumn’s war, APA reports quoting Washington Post, which cited Associated Press.

 

Shusha, a center of Azeri culture for centuries, came under Armenian control in 1992 in fighting over the separatist Nagorno-Karabakh region. Its retaking by Azerbaijan’s forces in November was important both symbolically and strategically because it sits high above nearby  Stepanakert (Khankendi).

 

“Today we are celebrating Nowruz in our ancient city Shusha, the cultural capital of Azerbaijan. This is a historic event. This is a great happiness. God heard the prayers of the Azerbaijani people,” Aliyev said after lighting the fire, a traditional way of celebrating Nowruz, in a video released by the presidential office on Saturday.

 

“Shusha may have been destroyed, our historical sites in Shusha may have been destroyed by the loathsome enemy. However, Shusha did not bend. Shusha did not break. It preserved its dignity, protected the national spirit of Azerbaijan, and today, while in Shusha, we are witnessing this once again,” he said.

 

Azerbaijan regained control of Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenian-held surrounding territories in last year’s six-week war in which more than 6,000 people died.

 

Source: Azeri-Press News Agency

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