During the war in Artsakh that started on September 27, the international press, as well as the leaders and intelligence services of many countries, repeatedly announced about Azerbaijan involving mercenaries and representatives of terrorist organizations in the war.
In response, Azerbaijan is constantly trying to prove that the mercenaries are actually fighting not with Azerbaijani, but with the Armenian armed forces, presenting absurd “evidence”.
The Fact Investigation Platform hereby presents the false and baseless provisions of this Azerbaijani propaganda.
On October 15, the pro-government Azeri news agency Haqqin.az published an article titled “Evidence of involvement of mercenaries and terrorists by Armenia” presenting the “revelations” of Anar Bagirov, President of the Bar Association of Azerbaijan, about the recruitment of militants by terrorist organizations in Armenia.
“Armenia has started recruiting volunteers under the banner of the ASALA terrorist organization for the VOMA terrorist organization to fight against Azerbaijan. And all this is happening against the background of baseless accusations against Azerbaijan about the Syrian mercenaries in Karabakh,” the article reads.
ASALA and VOMA
Thus, in the article, VOMA, whose full title is “The Art of Survival”, is presented as a terrorist organization linked to ASALA, which, however, is a simple propaganda trick.
According to the VOMA club’s Facebook page, it was founded in 2014 by spy Vova Vardanov and his veteran friends. The goal of the organization is to teach any person skills and knowledge that will help them survive in any situation.
Here people are given military training, taught how to use weapons, learn to shoot, master first aid, etc. on a voluntary basis.
The organization is not affiliated with ASALA in any way.
Flag of ASALA on the left, and the flag of VOMA on the right
The article also presents the statement of the organization on the recruitment of volunteers in the ongoing war. Although the statement says that the battalion is open to volunteers from Armenia and the Diaspora, the author of the article claims that the Armenian side is recruiting mercenaries.
As a final proof of what he said, the lawyer who “revealed” this presents the photos of 3 members of the VOMA club: David, Ashot and Mikhail, who, according to the author, are already taking part in the hostilities. The published photos of the men are screenshots from videos (video 1, 2, 3). These videos were made in 2017. In the videos, the boys tell about their participation in the VOMA club, their intention to return and permanently settle in Armenia in the future.
The video of the Lebanese-Armenian young man
This Azeri piece of propaganda about the recruitment of mercenaries by the Armenians was actively spread during the first days of the war as well. They spread information that mercenaries had arrived from the Middle East, and as evidence, they presented a video in which a young Lebanese-Armenian appealed to one of the Lebanese political parties.
Azerbaijan’s propaganda was based on the fact that the young man was wearing the uniform of the Armenian Armed Forces, and was speaking on behalf of the Armenian soldier.
However, in reality, the protagonist of the video is a young Lebanese-Armenian who volunteered to take part in the Artsakh war and reported that everything on the border is under the control of the Armenian forces. The young man also said that the Diaspora is behind the Armenian army. “Even if 1000 terrorists come, there is nothing they can do, because the right is on our side, victory has no alternative,” he added. Note that thousands of Lebanese-Armenians and Syrian-Armenians live in Armenia and Artsakh. In August of this year, after a large explosion in the Lebanese capital Beirut, about 850 Lebanese-Armenians moved to Armenia for permanent residence. This young man might be one of them.
Thus, we can state that Azerbaijan tries to counter the numerous weighty pieces of evidence on the presence of Syrian mercenaries and representatives of terrorist groups in the Azerbaijani Armed Forces with fabricated lies. And to achieve that end, it presents “evidence” that is easy for everyone to check.