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Hungary to Build School in Occupied Artsakh City of Jrakan (Jabrayil)

Hungary to Build School in Occupied Artsakh Village of Jrakan (Jabrayil)

Hungary, a member of the European Union, announced plans to fund the construction of a school in the occupied Artsakh city of Jrakan (also known as Jabrayil). This announcement was made by the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, during a meeting with representatives of parliaments from Turkic countries.

Aliyev highlighted the visit of leaders from the Organization of Turkic States to various regions within Azerbaijan. He mentioned that leaders from Turkey, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan had visited areas such as Shushi, Ankna (Aghdam), and Varanda (Fizuli). The planned school in occupied Jrakan is part of this cooperation among Turkic states.

"A school will be built with the financial support of Hungary in one of Jabrayil’s settlements. In other words, all this once again demonstrates our unity," Aliyev said. 

Historical Background of Jrakan (Jabrayil)

The history of Jrakan is rich and complex, with Armenian historian Samvel Karapetyan noting archaeological evidence suggesting the village was once populated by Armenians. According to Karapetyan, Armenians likely abandoned the village in the early 17th century. Folk tales from the 1870s, published in the Mshak newspaper, recount the story of an old village spring, indicating Armenian origins from the days of Lusavorich, as evidenced by crosses engraved on the well’s pavement.

The area was part of the Karabakh Khanate until 1813 when it was annexed into the Russian Empire following the Treaty of Gulistan. The 19th-century Armenian author Raffi mentioned a historical Jabrayil bridge (Jabrayili Kamurj) near the village, further emphasizing its historical significance.

Recent Wars and Occupation

During the First Nagorno-Karabakh War, on August 23, 1993, Armenian forces, along with the Republic of Artsakh, took control of the city, renaming it Jrakan (Ջրական) and Mekhakavan (Մեխակավան). It was administered as part of the Hadrut Province within Artsakh.

However, after 27 years, on October 9, 2020, Azerbaijan occupied the city during the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war. This marked a significant shift in the control and administration of the region.

In 2017, the Zoravor Surb Astvatsatsin (St. Mary's) Armenian church was constructed at the Armenian military base in Jrakan. This construction drew condemnation from Azerbaijan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. By March 2021, BBC journalist Jonah Fisher reported that no trace of the church remained, despite video evidence showing it intact when the area came under Azerbaijani control. When questioned, Azerbaijani officials provided conflicting responses, suggesting that the church was either destroyed during the war or by Armenians themselves.

Head of Foreign Policy Affairs Department of the Presidential Administration Hikmet Hajiyev claimed, "in Jabrayil never ever Armenian lived," and asserted that changing the religious character of the region was a violation of international humanitarian law. This assertion, however, contradicts the historical evidence of Armenian presence in the area.


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