Azerbaijan restarted hostilities on September 27, 2020, with mounting another full-scale military invasion across the entire border, once again using dozens of tanks, helicopters, assault drones, and even heavy artillery targeting civilian population. This time Azerbaijan’s unprovoked aggression was supported by Turkish military, unmasking the pre-mediated and pre-planned nature of this coordinated attack. Hostilities continue on a massive scale and more time is needed to evaluate the real scale of loss of human life and damage to infrastructure. However, it is clear that despite the heroic efforts of the NKR defense forces, significant damage and loss of life has and will continue to occur.
Artsakh, also known as Nagorno-Karabakh (NK) is a landlocked region of just 1,700 square miles located between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The land is home to nearly 150,000 Armenians and has been for thousands of years.
In 1920, the entire region including Republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan fell under Soviet rule. Soviet leadership against the will of the people put the Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) region under control of Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan, where NK Armenians suffered poor treatment and discrimination by Soviet Azerbaijan authorities.
As the Soviet system started to erode in the late 1980’s, NK Armenians sought unification with their motherland Armenia in a form of a legal referendum. Azerbaijan authorities responded by military force, committing mass atrocities against the civilian population. Against all odds, this war ended in victory for the Nagorno Karabakh Republic and resulted in a cease fire in 1994. Despite a cease fire agreement, Azeri military escalations occurred intermittently in the years that followed.
April 2016 Escalation
Rich on oil revenue, Azerbaijan’s military budget has been growing. Nearly two decades of aggressive military spending was put into action on April 2, 2016, when Azerbaijan mounted a full-scale military invasion of the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh (NKR). Dozens of tanks, helicopters, assault drones and troops invaded NKR in a war that lasted 4 days. Fortunately, the NKR defended well and lost no significant ground. However, nearly 100 military men including draftees, officers, and volunteers were killed.
Many families lost their only breadwinner.
The Diaspora for Frontline Family Fund
The Knights of Vartan (Ararat Lodge) (www.kofv.org) created a committee in 2016 to investigate how we could help. A new fund was created – Diaspora for Frontline Families Fund (DFFF) at www.kovcasp.org, which developed a mechanism for collecting tax-deductible donations and efficiently distributing the funds in Armenia with verifiable and transparent mechanisms. All overhead costs are absorbed by the DFFF ensuring that 100% of your donation is distributed directly to the families.
62 children lost their father during the April 2016 War. DFFF in partnership with Children of Armenia Sponsorship Program (CASP) committed to provide each of these children $250 annually until their 18th birthday. $105,000 has been raised and $75,000 has been successfully distributed to date. Unfortunately, the September 2020 outbreak of war now requires that we expand our assistance. Our goal is to ensure that every single child of our fallen heroes will receive an annual donation until their 18th birthday. We are looking for annual sponsors who will agree to pay $250 annually. However, donations of any amount are appreciated.
Funds Raised and Distributed to Date (as of August 31, 2020)
We are pleased to report that as a result of donations and other fund‐raising activities, the children have received $75,000 to date. Annual collections and disbursements to the children are detailed below:
Tax Deductible Donations
The Knights of Vartan Charitable Fund is a registered 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. Tax receipts will be provided for all donations of $250 or more. All proceeds will be deposited to the charitable fund account and transferred to CASP.