Sat, 31 Oct 2020

Baku [Azerbaijan], September 27 (ANI): Heavy fighting between the forces of Azerbaijan and Armenia broke out on Sunday in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh region.

According to Al Jazeera, Armenia has declared martial law and ordered its military to mobilise after a major "flare-up in violence" with Azerbaijan broke out over the disputed region.

Heavy firing broke out between the two countries today and they both blame each other for the escalation that led to casualties. Armenia accused the neighbour Azerbaijan "of hurting civilian settlements" in Nagorno-Karabakh -- which is recognised as a part of Azerbaijan internationally but controlled by Armenian forces.

Armenia's defence ministry said that its forces downed two Azerbaijani helicopters and three drones in response to an attack that began at 04.10 GMT.

However, Azerbaijan's defence ministry said that it had launched a "counteroffensive to suppress Armenia's combat activity and ensure the safety of the population", using tanks artillery missiles, combat aviation and drones.

"There are reports of dead and wounded among civilians and military servicemen," Hikmet Hajiyev, spokesman for the Azerbaijani presidency, said in a statement, reported by Al Jazeera. Later, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on Facebook, said that "the government has decided to declare martial law and a total mobilisation" further asking citizens to "get ready to defend our sacred homeland".

He further warned that "those using intimidation tactics" against Azerbaijan would regret it adding that it defends its lands and Nagorno-Karabakh is a part of their land.

In Nagorno-Karabakh, ombudsman Artak Beglaryan said: "there are civilian casualties" in the region. A spokesperson for the Armenian defence ministry said an Armenian woman and child had been killed in Nagorno-Karabakh, according to Al Jazeera.

The worst fighting in years raised the spectre of a "new large-scale war" between the two countries who have been in a territorial dispute over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Ethnic Armenians in the region had declared independence as the Soviet Union was collapsing, leading to a war that killed close to 30,000 people and left Nagorno-Karabakh outside Baku's control, Al Jazeera further reported.

A ceasefire was agreed in 1994. However, Azerbaijan and Armenia "frequently accuse" each other of attacks around the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

"Armenia has violated the ceasefire by attacking civilian settlements ... The international community must immediately say stop to this dangerous provocation," tweeted the Turkish Presidential spokesperson.

"We are calling on the sides to immediately halt fire and begin talks to stabilise the situation," said the Russian Foreign ministry.

Al Jazeera further reported that in July, heavy clashes along the two countries' shared border - hundreds of kilometres from Nagorno-Karabakh - killed 17 troops from both sides. (ANI)

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