The heavy fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenia entered its fifth day as dozens have died and unspecified numbers wounded as the two Caucasian countries battle for the historically disputed separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry stated that the Armenian forces have begun shelling the town of Tartar damaging civilian infrastructure and wounding people, while Armenian military officials were quoted as saying by AP that Azerbaijani forces were bombing positions of the Nagorno-Karabakh army in the north of the war-torn region.
Here are the latest developments so far:
Reiterate need for the sides to seize hostility immediately: India
In a statement to the media today, India’s Ministry of External Affairs said, “We have seen disturbing reports of resumption of hostility between Armenia and Azerbaijan. India is concerned over this situation which threatened regional peace & security. We reiterate the need for the sides to seize hostility immediately.”
France fears that Turkey is sending mercenaries to Caucasus
French President Emmanuel Macron has expressed concern about Turkey allegedly sending Syrian mercenaries to support Azerbaijan in its re-ignited conflict with Armenia over the mountain region of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Macron’s office said in a statement Thursday that he and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed the issue in a phone call Wednesday night, and both “share concern about the sending of Syrian mercenaries by Turkey to Nagorno-Karabakh.”
Macron’s office did not provide further information about the mercenaries. Turkey has publicly supported Azerbaijan in the conflict and said it would provide assistance if requested, but denied sending foreign mercenaries or arms to the region.
The renewed fighting in the Caucasus Mountains, at the crossroads between Russia, Turkey and Iran, has killed dozens of people since Sunday and raised concerns of a broader conflict. (AP)
Caucasus: 4 journalists injured in Nagorno-Karabakh fighting
Two French and two Armenian journalists were injured Thursday in the South Caucasus separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh, where heavy fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces this week marked the biggest escalation in years of a decades-old conflict.
The two Le Monde reporters were wounded in morning shelling in the town of Martuni, the newspaper said. Armenia’s Foreign Ministry said they were being taken to hospital, and accused Azerbaijan of bombarding the Martuni region.
A cameraman with the Armenia TV channel and a reporter with the Armenian 24News outlet also sustained injuries in the Martuni shelling, Armenian officials said. It was unclear how badly the four journalists were hurt. A Russian journalist with the independent Dozhd TV channel was reported to have safely reached a bomb shelter. (AP)
Armenia alleges use of Turkish jets, drones in Azerbaijani ops
Armenian officials alleged that Turkish drones and F-16 fighter jets were being used in the war operations carried out by Azerbaijan. Turkey has denied supplying Azerbaijan with arms, and Azerbaijan said it didn’t have any F-16 jets.
UN council urges speedy halt to Nagorno-Karabakh fighting
The United Nations Security Council called on Armenia and Azerbaijan Tuesday to immediately bring an end to the fighting over the separatist territory of Nagorno-Karabakh and urgently resume talks without preconditions.
The UN’s most influential body reprimanded the use of force and backed Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ earlier call to immediately stop fighting, deescalate tensions and return to meaningful negotiations without delay.
The council expressed full support for ‘the central role’ of the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which has been trying to mediate peace talks, and urged the sides ?to work closely with them for an urgent resumption of dialogue without preconditions.
Armenia says Sukhoi-25 jet shot down; Azerbaijan and Turkey deny it
Armenia stated that one of its warplanes was shot down Tuesday by a fighter jet from Azerbaijan’s ally Turkey, killing the pilot. Both Turkey and Azerbaijan denied it.
The move is expected to give way for a major escalation in the decades-old conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the region that was reignited on Sunday. The event was followed by numerous calls from around the globe for a cease-fire.
Armenian officials said an Su-25 from its air force was shot down in Armenian airspace by a Turkish F-16 fighter jet that took off from Azerbaijan, and the pilot was killed.
For approximately four decades, territorial disputes and ethnic conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan in Central Asia have impacted the Nagorno-Karabakh region in the South Caucasus. This past weekend, tensions escalated at the border between the two countries and resulted in the death of at least four Azerbaijani soldiers. Following the killings, Armenia and Azerbaijan were engaged in a verbal spat, accusing the other for having instigated the most recent conflict.
Conflict in the Nagorno-Karabakh region began in the late 1980s and lasted till approximately 1994, with both Armenia and Azerbaijan claiming this strategic territory. At that time, the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh had held a referendum boycotted by Azerbaijan where the people chose independence over joining either of the two countries.
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