This harrowing footage was captured on a helmet cam in the currently ongoing conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed region of Nagorno Karabakh. It shows two Armenian soldiers in a trench under heavy artillery and machine gun fire. One soldier is clearly suffering from the trauma of shellshock. As his comrade attempts to assist him, he is killed by one of the many bullets and pieces of shrapnel smashing into their position.

This combat footage captured via a helmet cam forms part of a long line of material coming from the ongoing war. It’s rapidly becoming a war of attrition where each side is lauding the destruction of enemy equipment and the death of enemy soldiers. It has also been marred by war crimes. Yesterday, we covered the recently leaked footage of Azeri special forces gunning down captured Armenian soldiers after bounding them and draping them in the Armenian flag.

Death on a Helmet Cam – The War Between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

The countries of Armenia and Azerbaijan both have long-running differences that range from religion and ethnicity to politics. Azerbaijan is populated largely by Turkic Muslims which makes it a close ally of Turkey. Armenia is populated largely by Orthodox Christians and as such are more aligned to Russia and other Orthodox countries.

Helmet cam

When the Soviet Union came along, they divided the territory between the Azerbaijani and Armenian populations, and through their oppressive nature, they kept a lid on ethnic tensions. However, they unwittingly planted the seed for future conflicts as they did in other parts of the USSR such as Donbass, South Ossetia, Abkhazia, and Transnistria.

The modern conflict between Armenian people and Azerbaijani nations stems from a region called Nagorno-Karabakh. During the collapse of the Soviet Union, the strategic region of Nagorno-Karabakh was claimed by both Armenia and Azerbaijan. Around the same time, the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh had held a referendum boycotted by Azerbaijan where the people chose independence instead of joining either of the two countries.

Helmet cam

Nagorno Karabakh was populated by equally large numbers of both Armenian and Azerbaijani people. As the situation worsened, both sides accused the other of calling for the ethnic cleansing of the other side within Nagorno Karabakh. This led to the large Armenian population voting to join Armenia and subsequently led to a civil war that killed thousands of people displaced many more.

By the spring of 1994, Russia had stepped in to negotiate a ceasefire and ethnically Armenian controlled Nagorno Karabakh became one of the four frozen conflict zones that are dotted across the former Soviet Union (the others being Transnistria, Abkhazia, and South Ossetia). Azerbaijan, however, still claims that the territory is theirs and since then there has been a string of violence and ceasefire violations such as the one in this video and the conflict currently taking place.

Helmet cam

The South Caucasus is home to a network of oil and gas pipelines and strategic roads. If a full-scale war was to break out this would either block or interrupt these much-needed supply routes. Many believe that as this would create serious challenges for both Armenia and Azerbaijan, a full-scale war is not in the interest of both countries. Thus, we should hope that this skirmish, like the ones before it, fades out soon.

For unfiltered, uncensored combat footage from the heart of human conflict around the world be sure to check out the Reaper Feed Combat Footage department. For our on-the-ground reportage from global warzones check out our Frontline Dispatch articles.

Avatar
Batya (Батя) is the founder of Reaper Feed. He is an international security advisor and a high-risk expedition leader across former and active conflict zones such as Eastern Ukraine, unrecognized post-Soviet states, the North Caucasus, and the Middle East. Batya founded Reaper Feed to provide unprecedented insight into the lesser-seen sides of human conflict and modern warfare. He is from the UK but his work means he is based in various countries around the world.