Azerbaijan Land Forces
Azərbaycan Silahlı Qüvvələri Quru Qoşunları
Flag of Azerbaijan Land Forces
Activec. 1992 - present
BranchLand Forces
SizeIISS 2013: 85,000[1]
Part ofAzerbaijan Armed Forces
March"Forward" (Marş "İrəli")
President and Commander-in-ChiefIlham Aliyev
Minister of DefenceZakir Hasanov
Commander of the Azerbaijani Land ForcesLieutenant General Hikmat Mirzayev
Badge of the Azerbaijani Land Forces

The Azerbaijani Land Forces (Azerbaijani: Azərbaycan Silahlı Qüvvələri Quru Qoşunları) are the land force component of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces.[2][3] Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Azerbaijan has been trying to create professional, well trained, and mobile armed forces. Based on 2013 statistics, the country has about 85,000 ground force troops, with additional paramilitary forces of 15,000. In addition, there are 300,000 former service personnel who have had military service in the last fifteen years.[1]

Reportedly, in wartime, the Army proper could call upon the support of the National Guard, the Internal Troops of Azerbaijan, and the State Border Service. The exact wartime command structure remains unclear.


During the Soviet period, Azerbaijan was part of the Transcaucasus Military District, whose forces in the republic were commanded by the 4th Army. The 4th Army consisted of three motor rifle divisions (the 23rd Guards Motor Rifle Division (MRD) at Ganja, the 60th Motor Rifle Division at Lankaran, and the 295th Motor Rifle Division in Baku), plus army troops that included missile and air defence brigades and artillery and rocket regiments. Azerbaijan also hosted the 49th Arsenal of the Main Missile and Artillery Directorate, which contained over 7,000 train-car loads of ammunition holding in excess of one billion units of ammunition and stores. In addition, the 75th Motor Rifle Division, part of the 7th Guards Army, was in the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic.

In summer 1992, the Defence Ministry of Azerbaijan, following a resolution by the Azerbaijani president on the privatization of units and formations in Azerbaijani territory, forwarded an ultimatum demanding control over vehicles and armaments of the 135th and 139th motorized rifle regiments of the 295th Motor Rifle Division.[4] The transfer of the property of the 4th Army (except for over half the equipment of the 366th Guards Motor Rifle Regiment of the 23rd Division captured by Armenian armed formations in 1992 during the regiment's withdrawal from Stepanakert) and the 49th Arsenal was completed in 1992. Thus, by the end of 1992, the Azerbaijani Government received arms and military hardware sufficient for approximately three motor rifle divisions with prescribed army units. The stores and equipment of the 75th Division were handed over to the Nakhchivan government.[5] The former Division HQs may have contributed to the formation of corps headquarters.

Twenty-first century

Azerbaijan reorganized its army, and has been preparing its armed forces for possible action against Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh. Intermittent fighting continued, most recently breaking out into the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Azerbaijan has contracted with Turkey for troop training to strengthen its armed forces. This is necessary in view of deficiencies that Jane's World Armies said in 2004 included huge problems in training, equipping and motivating its soldiers; corruption in its ranks; and a highly politicized officer corps.[6] The Soviet Army tradition of dedovshchina, institutionalized hazing, appears to be continuing in the armed forces as of 2008.[7] The quality and readiness of much of the army's equipment, Jane's said, is also a problem, as a decade of poor maintenance and chronic shortages of spare parts means that many systems are not operational, or cannibalised for parts. Azerbaijan has the second-highest military expenditure in CIS. Azerbaijan's defence spending is second only to Russia's within the Commonwealth of Independent States. [8]

During the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the Azerbaijani army was widely accused of committing war crimes against Armenian soldiers and civilians.[9] Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International both condemned Azerbaijan's "indiscriminate" shelling of Armenian civilians, including the use of cluster munitions.[10] [11] In addition, videos of Azerbaijani soldiers mistreating or executing captive Armenians were circulated online and received widespread condemnation.[12][13]

Foreign deployments

In Kosovo, one officer, 1 sergeant and 32 soldiers formed part of the Turkish Army battalion from September 1999. The Azerbaijanis oversaw eighteen settlements in the area. On 26 February 2008, as Kosovo declared its independence, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev addressed the National Assembly to call for the withdrawal of Azerbaijani peacekeepers from Kosovo. The address was considered at Assembly session on 4 March 2008 and accepted with eighty seven votes in favor, three against and two abstainations.

On April 15 of the same year the platoon returned to Azerbaijan. About 400 Azerbaijani servicemen were peacekeepers in Kosovo.

Azerbaijani servicemen were deployed to Iraq as part of Combined Joint Task Force 7 in 2003.[citation needed] The peacekeeping unit consisted of 14 officers, 16 sergeants and 120 privates, who secured the hydroelectric power station and reservoir in Haditha from August 2003. One company of Azerbaijani peacekeepers commanded by Captain Nasimi Javadov guarded the area of Haditha Dam, which is one of the principal sources of electricity in Iraq.[14] An Azerbaijani delegation headed by the Deputy Minister of Defence visited the Hadithah Dam at the invitation of the Marine Corps officials.[14]

From 2004 the company became part of the USMC led Multi-National Forces West. Ilham Aliyev's address to recall the Azerbaijani peacekeepers in Iraq was accepted at the plenary session of National Assembly by eighty six votes in favor and one against Four Azerbaijani officers in Iraq (Maj. Huseyn Dashdamirov, Capt. Nasimi Javadov, Capt. Alizamin Karimov and Sr. Lt. Abdulla Abdullayev) have been awarded the US Navy and Marines Corps Achievement Medal.[15][14]


Azerbaijan sent a platoon to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) consisting of 21 soldiers, one officer and one NCO in November 2002 with the aim of contributing to provision of peace, security and order in Afghanistan.[16]

The Azerbaijani platoon commanded by First Lieutenant Shamil Mammadov performed patrolling duties in the populated district of southern Kabul. On 2 October 2008 the National Assembly passed a decision to send 45 more peacekeepers to Afghanistan.[17] In an interview to Azeri Press Agency Brigadier-General Richard Blanchette said: "As the spokesperson for ISAF on behalf of General McKiernan, the Commander of ISAF, I thank your country, your soldiers, and the families of your soldiers, for their contribution to this vital mission".[18] The number of peacekeepers serving in the Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan was raised from 94 to 120 on 9 January 2018,[19] according to the amendment to the Resolution "On giving consent to the deployment and participation in the relevant operations in Afghanistan of a platoon of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Azerbaijan as part of the battalion of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Turkey and under the general command of NATO structures" by the Milli Majlis on 29 December 2017.[20]


Azerbaijani Land Forces Structure 2007

Opposed by Armenian forces, the Azerbaijani military was forced back out of Nagorno-Karabakh and was significantly reorganised in the mid-1990s predominantly around brigades, though at least one division was reported as late as 2000. Manoeuvre formations have consistently stayed at a strength of around twenty brigades and regiments since 1995, though that has slowly risen recently. During the 1990s, these brigades may have included the 701st Motor Rifle Brigade (1st Army Corps), the 708th Motor Rifle Brigade (1st Army Corps), 130th Motor Rifle Brigade (1st Army Corps), 161st Motor Rifle Brigade (2nd Army Corps), 709th Motor Rifle Brigade (formerly the 23rd Motor Rifle Division), and the 112th Motor Rifle Brigade.

The Land Forces currently consist of five army corps:[21]

The IISS estimated in 2007 that the Azerbaijani regular army was 56,840 strong, probably basing this figure on Conventional Forces in Europe treaty data. It attributes to the army five corps headquarters, 23 motor rifle brigades, one artillery brigade, one multiple rocket launcher brigade, and one anti-tank regiment.[27] Of the five army corps, the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Army Corps are concentrated against NK; part of 2nd is deployed on the Azerbaijan-Iranian border; the 4th covers the capital and the coast and the 5th is deployed exclusively in Nakhchivan.[28][29] Following the 2020 war, and specifically during the Baku Victory Parade, experts noted that a 6th corps was created, in part due to the partial mobilization that occurred in the country during that 44-day period.[30][31]

In addition, the Army maintains the following units:


Main article: Military ranks of Azerbaijan

Commissioned officer ranks

The rank insignia of commissioned officers.

Rank group General / flag officers Senior officers Junior officers Officer cadet
 Azerbaijani Land Forces[32]
Ordu generalı General-polkovnik General-leytenant General-mayor Polkovnik Polkovnik-leytenant Mayor Kapitan Baş leytenant Leytenant Kiçik leytenant

Other ranks

The rank insignia of non-commissioned officers and enlisted personnel.

Rank group Senior NCOs Junior NCOs Enlisted
 Azerbaijani Land Forces[32]
No insignia
Baş gizir Gizir Kiçik gizir Baş çavuş Çavuş Kiçik çavuş Baş əsgər Əsgər


See also: List of equipment of the Azerbaijani Land Forces

Service March

The service march of the Lane Forces is "Forward" (Marş "İrəli") also known as the "Soldier's Anthem" (Əsgər Marşı). The lyrics are based on that of the Regiment March, which is the official march of the Special Forces Command of Turkey. The lyrics of the march are as follows:[33]

English Text
The homeland brought me up
Sent to these years
He called the land a victim
He turned to God
"Don't sit idle, work," he said
Serve the Motherland
My milk is not halal for you
You bow to the enemy

March forward! March forward!
Azerbaijani soldier!
Irrevocable, irreversible
Azerbaijani soldier!

Our pillow is the Motherland
Let our blanket be snow.
If we turn away from this path
Shame on us!
How wonderful it is for us to die
For the beloved Motherland
Burning heart love the country
Always in-between

March forward! March forward!
Azerbaijani soldier!
Irrevocable, irreversible
Azerbaijani soldier!

The march was written by Cavanşir Quliyev.[34] It is performed at all military parades in Azerbaijan.

See also


  1. ^ a b The Military Balance 2013. London: Routledge for the IISS. 2013. p. 216. ISBN 978-1-85743-680-8.
  2. ^ Azərbaycan Quru Qoşunları yaradıld Archived 6 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine (in Azerbaijani)
  3. ^ В Азербайджане созданы сухопутные войска Archived 19 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine (in Russian)
  4. ^ Vladimir Petrov, How South Caucasus was armed Archived 24 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine, Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (Moscow, Russia)
  5. ^ Tehran IRNA, 9 January 1992, as transcribed in FBIS, Soviet Union Daily Report, 92-007, 10 January 1992, p. 53., via ref in 75 MRD note in 7th Guards Army article.
  6. ^ Jane's World Armies Azerbaijan, as accessed October 2004.
  7. ^ "Infosud - Tribune des Droits Humains | Journal en ligne offrant une information indépendante et pluraliste sur les droits de l'homme dans le monde". Archived from the original on 13 November 2008. Retrieved 7 March 2010.
  8. ^ "Azerbaijan has second highest military expenditure in CIS". News.Az. Archived from the original on 26 February 2011. Retrieved 22 February 2011.
  9. ^ "Armenia/Azerbaijan: Decapitation and war crimes in gruesome videos must be urgently investigated". Amnesty International. 10 December 2020. Retrieved 5 October 2021.
  10. ^ "Azerbaijan: Unlawful Strikes in Nagorno-Karabakh". Human Rights Watch. 11 December 2020. Retrieved 5 October 2021.
  11. ^ "Armenia/Azerbaijan: Civilians must be protected from use of banned cluster bombs". Amnesty International. 5 October 2020. Retrieved 5 October 2021.
  12. ^ "Two men beheaded in videos from Nagorno-Karabakh war identified". the Guardian. 15 December 2020. Retrieved 5 October 2021.
  13. ^ "Nagorno-Karabakh conflict: 'Execution' video prompts war crime probe". BBC News. 24 October 2020. Retrieved 5 October 2021.
  14. ^ a b c "The Peacekeeping Forces of Azerbaijan" (PDF). Coalition Bulletin. Retrieved 18 April 2009.
  15. ^ "Azerbaijani Officers Receive High US Military Awards" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 June 2011. Retrieved 18 April 2009.
  16. ^ "United States Central Command-Coalition Countries". Archived from the original on 25 September 2008. Retrieved 18 April 2009.
  17. ^ "Azerbaijan to render military assistance to Afghanistan". Azeri Press Agency. 20 February 2009. Retrieved 26 April 2009.
  18. ^ Suleymanov, Rashad (27 March 2009). "ISAF Commander in Afghanistan: "We highly appreciate Azerbaijani peacekeepers' contributions to ISAF mission"". Baku: Azeri Press Agency. Retrieved 26 April 2009.
  19. ^ "Azerbaijan increases number of troops deployed to Afghanistan mission". The Defense Post. 9 January 2018. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  20. ^ "The number of Azerbaijani peacekeepers participating in the NATO-led Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan has increased - VIDEO". Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  21. ^ C. W. Blandy Azerbaijan: Is War Over Nagornyy Karabakh a Realistic Option? Advanced Research and Assessment Group. Caucasus Series 08/17. — Defence Academy of the United Kingdom, 2008, p.12 Archived 10 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ "Провал военной хунты". Free Azerbaijan (in Russian). 16 November 2020. Archived from the original on 22 January 2021. Retrieved 5 December 2020.
  23. ^ "General-leytenant Əkbərov - 50-ni haqladı - VİDEO". ATV.AZ (in Azerbaijani). Archived from the original on 22 January 2021. Retrieved 26 November 2020.
  24. ^ "Rövşən Əkbərov Telman oğlu". - 4 dildə xəbərlər və ensiklopediya (in Azerbaijani). 16 September 2018. Archived from the original on 4 February 2021. Retrieved 26 November 2020.
  25. ^ "ƏKBƏROV RÖVŞƏN TELMAN OĞLU". VƏTƏN UĞRUNDA - Hərbi-Vətənpərvərlik Şurasının İnternet Orqanı (in Russian). Archived from the original on 4 February 2021. Retrieved 26 November 2020.
  26. ^ "Vasif Talıbov Kərəm Mustafayevə general-polkovnik ali hərbi rütbəsini təqdim etdi". Azeri Defence (in Azerbaijani). 25 June 2020. Archived from the original on 4 February 2021. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  27. ^ IISS (2012). The Military Balance 2012. London: Routledge for the IISS. pp. 92–93.
  28. ^ C. W. Blandy Azerbaijan: Is War Over Nagornyy Karabakh a Realistic Option? Advanced Research and Assessment Group. Caucasus Series 08/17. — Defence Academy of the United Kingdom, 2008, p.12 Archived 10 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  29. ^ "Force _sng". Archived from the original on 28 September 2011. Retrieved 6 April 2010.>
  30. ^ "Azərbaycanda daha iki ordu korpusu yaradıldı". Gundelik-Baku.Com. Archived from the original on 4 February 2021. Retrieved 23 December 2020.
  31. ^ Royal (11 December 2020). "Azərbaycanda daha iki Ordu Korpusu yaradıldı". Baku Press Klub (in Azerbaijani). Archived from the original on 4 February 2021. Retrieved 23 December 2020.
  32. ^ a b "Azərbaycan Respublikası Silahlı Qüvvələri hərbi qulluqçularının hərbi geyim forması və fərqləndirmə nişanları haqqında Əsasnamə" (PDF). (in Azerbaijani). Ministry of Defense. 25 June 2001. pp. 64–70. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  33. ^ "Azərbaycan dili - 4". Archived from the original on 4 February 2021. Retrieved 21 December 2020.
  34. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 February 2021. Retrieved 21 December 2020.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)