Remains of some Armenian soldiers killed in Nagorno-Karabakh war difficult to identify, health minister says

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YEREVAN, March 11. /ARKA/. The remains of some Armenian soldiers killed in the 44-day war in Nagorno-Karabakh are difficult to identify, Armenian Minister of Health Anahit Avanesyan said on Thursday after a government meeting.

“We no longer have DNA samples that have not been examined at least once. Unfortunately, there are remains and bodies that are badly damaged and it is very difficult to isolate DNA from them for examination. We are in touch with other international organizations and their experts are now working on the remaining very complex examinations,”Avanesyan said.

She did not rule out the likelihood that there will be a certain number of remains that will be impossible to identify because of being heavily damaged.

“Now we have 210 samples that are very difficult to work with. They should not be confused with bodies. More than 2,200 bodies have been identified, and there are 180 relatives awaiting an answer. About 2,400 people took a DNA test,”Avanesyan said.

She denied rumors that these remains may belong to Azerbaijanis and will be buried in the same mass grave with Armenian soldiers.

“There is absolutely no such talk, and no such idea is being discussed by the government,” Avanesyan said.

In early January, then Health Minister Arsen Torosyan stated that from the beginning of the war and until January 4, 2021, a forensic examination was carried out on the bodies or remains of 3,360 dead servicemen. According to him, the forensic medical service has also carried out more than 2,500 forensic genetic examinations.

On September 27, 2020, Azerbaijani armed forces, backed by Turkey and foreign mercenaries and terrorists, attacked Nagorno-Karabakh along the entire front line using rocket and artillery weapons, heavy armored vehicles, military aircraft and prohibited types of weapons such as cluster bombs and  phosphorus weapons.

After 44 days of the war, on November 9, the leaders of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a statement on the cessation of all hostilities. According to the document, the parties stopped at where they were at that time. The town of Shushi, the districts of Agdam, Kelbajar and Lachin were handed over to Azerbaijan, with the exception of a 5-kilometer corridor connecting Karabakh with Armenia.

A Russian peacekeeping contingent was deployed along the contact line in Karabakh and along the Lachin corridor. Internally displaced persons and refugees are returning to Karabakh and adjacent regions, prisoners of war, hostages and other detained persons and bodies of the dead are being exchanged.–0-

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