The territorial integrity of Azerbaijan has always been a great danger for Armenia. Since the beginning of the last century Armenians have occupied our lands, as well as committing massacres, made Azeri people suffer. From the very first day of the establishment of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, Armenians conquered Irevan Khanate with territorial claims. But they couldn’t gain their goals at that time. Nagorno Karabakh has always been a strategical territory for Armenians. Unfortunately, although we had thousands of martyrs at the end of the last century, Armenians were able to conquer Karabakh with the help of their foreign supporters. However, at the beginning of the same century despite of its earliness, ADR government could save these territories. From the start ADR’s first goal was to protect Nagarno Karabakh and Zengezur. During 2 years Armenian dashnaks often committed the separatism activity with Armenian Andronik at the head. It happened so that, they burned the villages, inflicted reprisals to civilians. The worst result was that more than sixty thousand Azerbaijanies were knocked about. In spite of this ADR government managed to stop and prevent the Armenian separators. But seeing the increase of political – military tension, ADR government controlled the situation partly, establishing general – governorship covering Zengezur, Shusha, Javashir and Jebrail region with the central city being Shusha. The leader of that government Khosrov bey Sultanov played can important role in abolishing the Armenian separatism in Upper Karabakh and Zengezur.
The former member of parliament professor Hevva Mamedova notes in her book that, thanks to high organization activity acted by Khosrov bey Sultanov, the Armenians living in the territory of Nagorno Karabakh came to a conclusion about obeying the Azerbaijan government. “Even after Kh. Sultanov was appointed as a general-governor, the Armenian aggressive separatists in Karabakh kept on making efforts to separate Karabakh from the Azerbaijan Republic and adjoin it to Armenia with the support of the Armenia Government. They arranged an attack against Azerbaijanis and military forces in Shusha and the villages around it in 1919, at the beginning of June. Armenians had been preparing for it for a longtime.” According to her opinion, in 1918-1920. Azerbaijan government managed to prevent Armenian aggression only with the power of its military forces.
“The research of the time studied shows that, as a result of the internal and foreign policy led by the national government in 1918-1920, Armenian terrorism in Upper Karabakh was prevented. That’s why, it’s very important for our life to study the experience and policy that ADR government realized to depend our borders and lands. ADR government didn’t stop the struggle for Karabakh until the last day of its activity. In 27 April invasion all the military forces of ADR were deployed to Karabakh front. It seems, it was one of the plans of destroying the national government, therefore Russian military forces entered Baku without shooting. But in all cases ADR defended Karabakh bravely. In general, our national army had a lot of success in those years and the last of then was Karabakh battles. Colonel Israfil bey Israfilbeyov, the witness of the battle in 1920 remembers those moments like this: “ In 1920 on March 22, in the night of Novruz holiday, the Armenians inhabited in the mountainous part of Karabakh region, rebelled and occupied “ Askeran passage”. Therefore, a strong army were sent to Askeran front headed by Habib bey Salimov. On April 3 Azerbaijan army made a strong attack against Armenians. How can we forget that happy day?
The army’s victory, discipline and determination were incredible. Foreign countries admired our regular organization and strong army in such a short and poor period. A lot of people were crying of excitement. That day was the happiest and the most glorious for Azerbaijan. Shemistan Nazirli, the researcher of our military history, journalist-publicist has revealed some interesting facts about Karabakh’s defence by ADR in his book dealing with this event. The author notes that, for the existence of independent Azerbaijan, the terrible March days of 1920, the aggression of dishonest dashnaks to our motherland got every Azerbaijan soldier armed. According to his research, the main deed was made by Habib bey Salimov in the defence of Karbakh: “ In 1920 on March 22, on the day of Novruz dashnaks, closed “Askeran Passage” to separate mountainous part of Karabakh from Azerbaijan. Rebellers were armed with submachine guns. They were headed by general Dro Kanayan. They intended to occupy Shusha and proceed to Terter. At that time there appeared a great danger. That’s why strong forces were arranged for Askeran front.
The minister of defence Samed bey Mehmandarov gave six regiments to Habib bey Salimov saying that Karabakh must be returned back. On April 3 a terrible battle started headed by Habib bey Salimov. The battle lasted for 12 days, the opposite side was defeated and eventually Government Army entered Shusha and Khankendi. Even the minister of defence S. Mehmandarov came to the front and congratulated the soldiers, saying that though he had been in many battles in Germany, he had never seen such courageous and fearless people. “You protected the honour of Azerbaijan army with your souls and bodies! Killing the general Crazy Gazar and destroying his troops, the third artillery Battery waved the Azerbaijan flag in Karabakh”, – he said. If we hadn’t had them, we would definitely have lost Karabakh. We had these lands thanks to them.