World Nagorno-Karabakh fighting rages as US hosts talks
Twenty French deputies demand recognition of the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh
© ETIENNE LAURENT / EPA / MAXPPP Demonstrators in favor of the recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh, October 11, 2020 in Los Angeles. About twenty elected members of the National Assembly want France to recognize "full sovereignty" of Nagorno-Karabakh, against "Azerbaijani aggression". Twenty deputies demanded Thursday, October 15, for France to recognize without delay the separatist Nagorno-Karabakh republic, in the grip of armed clashes between Azerbaijan and the Armenian independence forces.
STEPANAKERT, Nagorno-Karabakh (AP) — Heavy fighting raged Friday over Nagorno-Karabakh even as top diplomats from Armenia and Azerbaijan traveled to Washington for negotiations on settling the neighboring countries' decades-long conflict.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's scheduled talks with Armenia and Azerbaijan's foreign ministers follow two failed Russian attempts to broker a cease-fire in the worst outbreak of hostilities over the region for more than a quarter-century.
Missile strikes hit Azerbaijan cities after shelling of Armenia separatist capital
A missile strike levelled a row of homes in Azerbaijan's second city of Ganja Saturday, killing and badly injuring people in their sleep in a sharp escalation of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The decades-long Nagorno-Karabakh conflict re-erupted on September 27 in hotly disputed circumstances and has so far killed more than 700 people, including nearly 80 civilians. The mountainous western region of Azerbaijan has remained under separatist ethnic Armenian control since a 1994 ceasefire ended a brutal war that killed 30,000.
The warring sides traded accusations early Friday involving the shelling of residential areas. Authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh said the town of Martakert and several villages in the Martuni region were struck by Azerbaijani rockets.
The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry denied the claim and accused Armenian forces of targeting the Terter, Agdam and Agjabedi regions of Azerbaijan overnight.
Armenia and Azerbaijan agree new truce
The fresh ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh comes after a truce agreed last weekend failed to hold.The two confirmed the truce would begin at midnight local time (20:00 GMT).
Amid the relentless shelling, many residents have sought protection from rockets and artillery shells by moving into squalid basements.
A few families, including children and elderly women, found refuge in the basement of a school in Stepanakert, the regional capital of Nagorno-Karabakh.
One of the residents who found shelter there, Nurvart, said her five sons were all at the frontline along with other ethnic Armenian residents of the region who joined the military amid the recent armed conflict.
“They are fighting for our right to live here,” said Nurvart, who refrained from mentioning her last name amid the hostilities.
Small children played and laughed as women cooked food and tried to warm up the cold, damp school basement.
Another woman hiding in the basement, Marina, vented her anger at the Azerbaijani authorities:
“All they know is how to kill," she said, not giving her last name in the jittery war situation. "I do not know, maybe there are people who feel the same as we do, but there is a government that has created all this.”
What is behind the Nagorno-Karabakh flare-up?
And how can it be resolved?
Nagorno-Karabakh lies within Azerbaijan but has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since a war there ended in 1994. The current fighting that started Sept. 27 marks the worst escalation in the conflict since the war’s end.
According to Nagorno-Karabakh officials, 927 of their troops have been killed, and more than 30 civilians also have died. Azerbaijan hasn’t disclosed its military losses, but says 63 civilians have been killed and 292 have been wounded. Armenia officially isn't engaged in the fighting)
Fighting rages as Armenia, Azerbaijan engage in talks: Live news
After almost one month of fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh, dozens of civilians and hundreds of soldiers have been killed.“For about 10 days during heavy shelling of Stepanakert we didn’t have time to track down those infected patients, and it allowed contagion to spread in quicker than usual. However now the situation will be under control,” he said.
Azerbaijan has accused Armenia of targeting its towns and villages with artillery and missiles, which Armenian authorities have denied.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that Moscow's information indicated that the combined death toll from the nearly four weeks of fighting was approaching 5,000, a significantly higher number than officially reported by the warring parties.
Russia has co-chaired the so-called Minsk Group set up by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to mediate in the conflict.
Putin said the country is doing its best to negotiate a lasting truce. He voiced hope that the United States would work cooperatively to help end hostilities and mediate a political settlement.
'Execution' video prompts Karabakh war crime probe
A video posted on social media appears to show the execution of two Armenian prisoners by troops from Azerbaijan.One video posted on a messaging app shows what appears to be two Armenians in military uniforms being captured by troops from Azerbaijan.
With a military base in Armenia and a security pact obliging Moscow to protect its ally, Moscow has been involved in a delicate balancing act, trying to also maintain good ties with Azerbaijan and avoid a showdown with Turkey.
Turkey has thrown its weight behind Azerbaijan, vowing to support longtime ally Azerbaijan “on the battlefield or the negotiating table.” It has trained Azerbaijani military and provided it with strike drones and long-range rocket systems that gave Azerbaijan a strong edge on the battlefield.
Armenian officials say Turkey is directly involved in the conflict and is sending Syrian mercenaries to fight on Azerbaijan’s side. Turkey has denied deploying combatants to the region, but a Syrian war monitor and Syria-based opposition activists have confirmed that Turkey has sent hundreds of Syrian opposition fighters to fight in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Armenians Beg Putin to Send Secret Soldiers For Their War in Nagorno-Karabakh
MOSCOW—After several weeks of fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the contested mountain region of Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenians have all but stopped hoping for any help from their ally Russia. Under a mutual defense pact known as the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO)—the Russian equivalent to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization—Moscow has pledged to send troops to defend member states like Armenia if they are under attack. But Armenians aren’t holding their breath, even as the death toll mounts and Azerbaijan gains ground in the contested region thanks to their superior drone power.
Avet Demourian in Yerevan, Armenia, Aida Sultanova in London and Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow contributed to this report.
Armenia, Azerbaijan trade accusations again after new attacks .
Shelling reported by both sides within hours of the latest agreement to defuse conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh.Shelling was reported by both sides on Saturday within hours of the latest agreement to defuse the conflict, reached after talks in Geneva between the two countries’ foreign ministers and envoys from France, Russia and the United States.