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World Armenia and Azerbaijan clash over disputed region

18:10  27 september  2020
18:10  27 september  2020 Source:   cnn.com

Azerbaijan, Armenia declare martial law after clashes kill at least 16 military members

  Azerbaijan, Armenia declare martial law after clashes kill at least 16 military members Azerbaijan and Armenia both declared martial law early Sunday after clashes killed at least 16 military members and several civilians.The two countries, both former Soviet republics, experienced their heaviest clash since 2016 on Sunday over Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed territory that is inside Azerbaijan but run by ethnic Armenians, Reuters reported. Armenia accused Azerbaijan of an air and artillery strike on the area, with Nagorno-Karabakh saying 16 of its military members were killed and more than 100 were wounded in the attack. Armenian activists also said an ethnic Armenian woman and child were killed.

Long-simmering tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan appear to have flared up in the contested Nagorno-Karabakh region, with both sides accusing each other of attacking civilians.

smoke coming out of the water: A photo released by the Armenian defense ministry appears to show an Azerbaijani tank being destroyed on September 27, 2020. © Armenian Defense Ministry/AP A photo released by the Armenian defense ministry appears to show an Azerbaijani tank being destroyed on September 27, 2020.

The neighboring former Soviet republics have long been at odds over the territory -- which is situated within the borders of Azerbaijan -- and fought a war over it that finished in 1994.

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  War between Armenia and Azerbaijan helps no one, except Russia The fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the Armenian-occupied territory of Nagorno-Karabakh that erupted over the weekend is quickly escalating into a full-scale war. Both Armenia and Azerbaijan have declared a state of war amid general mobilization. Massive reinforcements have been sent by both governments to the combat zone, including rocket launchers capable of hitting major cities from a long distance. © Provided by Washington Examiner The latest fighting has brought the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh to a critical stage after a quarter century of failed international mediation.

Despite the conflict ending with a Russian-brokered ceasefire, military skirmishes between the two sides are not uncommon.

While Armenia said it was responding to missile attacks launched by its neighbor Sunday, Azerbaijan blamed Armenia for the clashes.

In response to the alleged firing of projectiles by Azerbaijan, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan tweeted that his country had "shot down 2 helicopters & 3 UAVs, destroyed 3 tanks."

As a result of the escalating tensions, the Armenian government has decided to impose martial law and to order "general mobilization," Pashinyan said in a later tweet.

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Armenia earlier claimed that its neighbor had targeted civilians in peaceful areas, including in the region's capital Stepanakert.

However, Azerbaijan suggested that Armenia was accountable for the latest flare-up between the two countries.

Hikmet Hajiyev, assistant of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan and head of the Foreign Policy Affairs Department of the presidential administration, tweeted Sunday: "There are reports of dead and wounded among civilians and military servicemen. Extensive damage has been inflicted on many homes and civilian infrastructure."

Accusing Armenia of "an act of aggression and use of force," Hajiyev added that the "political-military leadership of Armenia bears full responsibility."

"Currently, the Azerbaijan Army is taking retaliatory actions and our troops fully control the operational situation," Azerbaijan's Ministry of Defense said in a statement Sunday.

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But Armenia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement: "We strongly condemn the aggression of the military-political leadership of Azerbaijan."

"The military political leadership of Azerbaijan bears full responsibility for the consequences of their aggression," the statement added.

Fighting between the two sides has been increasing in recent months.

In 2016, dozens of soldiers from both countries died during clashes. Two years earlier, then UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged Armenia and Azerbaijan to "commit themselves to immediate de-escalation and continuing dialogue" after reports of violence and casualties along the border.

The Nagorno-Karabakh region is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but is governed by a majority group of ethnic Armenians.

Ilham Aliyev wearing a suit and tie: Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev speaks to the nation from the capital, Baku. © Azerbaijani Presidential Press Office/AP Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev speaks to the nation from the capital, Baku. a group of people in military uniform standing in front of a crowd: Servicemen are pictured in Yerevan, Armenia, on Sunday, the day the Armenian government imposed martial law and general mobilization after clashes with Azerbaijan. © Melik Baghdasaryan/TASS/Getty Images Servicemen are pictured in Yerevan, Armenia, on Sunday, the day the Armenian government imposed martial law and general mobilization after clashes with Azerbaijan.

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Exclusive: Official at Center of Armenia, Azerbaijan Conflict Calls It Fight to Death

  Exclusive: Official at Center of Armenia, Azerbaijan Conflict Calls It Fight to Death "We've been here our whole life, and we are staying here to do what we can. It would be wrong not to worry, but it would be wrong to panic and leave your post," Artsakh representative to the U.S. told Newsweek.For this tiny republic, defeat could mean the end of his internationally unrecognized government, and perhaps worse for its constituents.

Why Armenia and Azerbaijan are fighting, and why it could get uglier .
The countries have fought for years over a breakaway region, but this time, the U.S. isn't helping to mediate, and other major powers are picking sides.International observers and analysts warn that, unlike during previous clashes along the two countries' shared border, it may be hard to negotiate peace this time, not least because NATO member Turkey has backed Azerbaijan and the United States appears uninterested in playing the vital role of arbiter.

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