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

02:20  03 october  2020
02:20  03 october  2020 Source:   newsweek.com

Armenia and Azerbaijan clash over disputed region

  Armenia and Azerbaijan clash over disputed region 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. © 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.

Officially part of Azerbaijan , it is governed by ethnic Armenians . The two former Soviet republics But they add that Armenian -born fighters in Syria have also been transported to Armenia to join the fight . However, it is also close to Azerbaijan 's rulers, and has called for an immediate ceasefire

Video caption: Avoiding war in the Armenia - Azerbaijan conflictAvoiding war in the Armenia - Azerbaijan conflict . Ros Atkins explains why despite calls for a ceasefire, fighting over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh continues to intensify.

A senior official representing the separatist state at the heart of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan has characterized it as a fight to the death.

a large body of water with a mountain in the background: An emergency services member stands atop the site of a grass fire started by a bomb that fell nearby on October 2 in Stepanakert, Nagorno-Karabakh. Up to hundreds may have already been killed as the decades-long conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan reignited less than a week ago over Nagorno-Karabakh, led by ethnic Armenians but internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan. © Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images An emergency services member stands atop the site of a grass fire started by a bomb that fell nearby on October 2 in Stepanakert, Nagorno-Karabakh. Up to hundreds may have already been killed as the decades-long conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan reignited less than a week ago over Nagorno-Karabakh, led by ethnic Armenians but internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan.

For this tiny republic, defeat could mean the end of his internationally unrecognized government, and perhaps worse for its constituents.

Fears grow of war between Armenia and Azerbaijan as fighting continues for second day

  Fears grow of war between Armenia and Azerbaijan as fighting continues for second day Azerbaijan and Armenia are reporting more casualties as the violent flare-up between the two Caucus nations continued for a second day. © Provided by Washington Examiner On Monday, forces tied to the two countries reportedly exchanged rocket and artillery fire in the escalating battle that began on Sunday. The fighting is raising fears of a wider conflict in the region and the possibility that Turkey, which backs Azerbaijan and Russia (which has a mutual defense agreement with Armenia), could become involved.

Armenia and Azerbaijan have reported increasing civilian and military casualties amid violent Officials in the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh said that 26 more of their troops were killed The United Nations Security Council is expected to hold emergency talks on the Karabakh conflict on

Azerbaijan has insisted that Armenia must withdraw troops from the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh Nearly 200 people, including civilians, have been killed in the fighting , despite international calls for "Russia and Turkey are on opposite sides of this conflict , and are increasingly destined to collide in a

"This is an existential fight," said Robert Avetisyan, permanent representative to the United States from the Artsakh Republic, known to the world as Nagorno-Karabakh.

Avetisyan was born and raised in the land that has for about a century been the center of an ethnic and territorial dispute between South Caucasus rivals Armenia and Azerbaijan. Home to a majority of Christian Armenians who lead the Artsakh Republic, Nagorno-Karabakh is considered by the United Nations to be part of Azerbaijan, a larger, mostly Shiite Muslim nation that entirely surrounds the self-declared breakaway region.

Armenia believes that it should be up to the locals themselves to decide, a stance that has long divided Yerevan and Baku.

Armenia claims Turkey 'shot down' one of its jets during Nagorno-Karabakh fighting

  Armenia claims Turkey 'shot down' one of its jets during Nagorno-Karabakh fighting Armenia says Turkey shot down one of its fighter jets as fighting with Azerbaijan around disputed enclave Nagorno-Karabakh intensifies. Armenia's defense ministry on Tuesday said a Turkish F-16 had shot down an Armenian SU-25 fighter in Armenian airspace, killing the pilot. A ministry spokesperson said the Turkish jet took off from an airbase inside Azerbaijan and had been providing cover for Azerbaijani aircraft attacking Armenian positions.

Armenia and Azerbaijan accused each other on Tuesday of firing into each other’s territory, far from the conflict zone in the breakaway Azeri region German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called for an “immediate” end to the fighting in the region of Nagorno-Karabakh in phone calls with the leaders of

Further evidence is emerging of rebels from Syria being recruited to fight as mercenaries in the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Armenia and Azerbaijan first fought after the collapse of the Russian Empire during World War I, and then again as the Soviet Union fell apart in the 1980s and 1990s, when tens of thousands died in their deadliest-yet clash. They've sparred sporadically since, but have witnessed their worst violence in decades since new fighting broke out last Saturday.

The following day, Avetisyan returned to his hometown from Washington.

Avetisyan described the situation to Newsweek from the Nagorno-Karabakh capital of Stepanakert as air raid sirens wailed in the background.

"If the world is considering involvement 'before the fighting escalates into a large-scale war,'" he said, "this is the large-scale war, and the civilized world's practical involvement and the reaction is long overdue."

Exclusive: Armenia, Azerbaijan Speak Out, Here's What They Want from U.S.

  Exclusive: Armenia, Azerbaijan Speak Out, Here's What They Want from U.S. As their countries battle at home, Newsweek spoke to Armenian and Azerbaijani ambassadors to the U.S., who disagree on much but both see Washington as having an important role in resolving their deadly conflict.But there's one thing they do agree on—things can never be the same.

If fierce fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani troops persists, outside forces may get Russia has called for a ceasefire, but unlike previous large-scale escalations it has yet to convene a meeting of Armenia - Azerbaijan conflict : Azerbaijan president vows to fight on. Published. 1 day ago.

Armenia and Azerbaijan only clash in the region of Nagorno-Karabakh because officially these Have you heard any call from Putin to the president of Azerbaijan since this clash has started? There are no turks fighting along with the army but their equipment is mostly turkish + israeli from the

Rockets rained down moments later, as he recounted, forcing him to take shelter.

France, Russia and the United States are tasked with maintaining peace and stability in the area as co-chairs of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe's Minsk Group, formed in 1992 in an effort to halt their last all-out war.

On Thursday, the trio issued a statement to "condemn in the strongest terms the recent escalation of violence along the Line of Contact in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone."

They called "for an immediate cessation of hostilities between the relevant military forces" and a return to negotiations.

But Avetisyan said this would not be enough as long as Turkey was backing Azerbaijan.

"We don't think that Turkey, or even Azerbaijan instigated by Turkey, is a country that you can deal with only by statements, or expressing concerns or expressing your aspirations," the diplomat told Newsweek.

"Turkey should be built with much firmer political, economic actions, and we're sure that the United States, as one of the major players in the region in the world—in every aspect of life—has the leverage to push Turkey," he added.

The fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan, explained

  The fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan, explained Dozens have been reported killed and hundreds wounded since fighting between the two former Soviet republics broke out on Sunday. It is unclear what flared the so-called "frozen conflict," which stretched into its fifth consecutive day on Thursday, but the fighting has already been the worst in decades. The fighting has exacerbated tensions between NATO allies France and Turkey.

Despite calls for a ceasefire from the US, Russia and France - fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh continues to intensify. The BBC’s Ros Atkins looks at the history of the conflict , the reasons it ’s escalated this week and why some warn it could

Despite calls for a ceasefire from the US, Russia and France - fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh continues to intensify. The BBC’s Ros Atkins looks at the history of the conflict , the reasons it ’s escalated this week and why some warn it could

Turkey has a troubled history with Armenians, who during and after World War I were subjected by the Ottoman Empire to a systematic ethnic cleansing campaign that a number of countries now consider a genocide. Turkey and Azerbaijan do not.

And they also vehemently reject any allegations that the current conflict was ethnically-motivated.

"Armenian groups' unfounded accusations against Turkey, by distorting historical and legal facts, are not something new," the Turkish embassy in Washington said in a statement sent to Newsweek.

"The latest smear campaign of Armenia against Turkey is yet another futile attempt to hide Armenia's violent behavior in the region, while breaching multiple international laws," the statement added, pledging support for Azerbaijan and calling for an immediate withdrawal of Armenian forces from Nagorno-Karabakh.

Ankara's embassy also blamed Armenia for the latest round of escalations and pointing to past examples of Armenian forces allegedly killing Azerbaijani citizens during their last major war to counterclaim against what Avetisyan called "another genocide" being orchestrated today by Turkey.

President Donald Trump did briefly hit Turkey, a NATO ally, with sanctions last year over its role in leading a Syrian insurgent takeover of parts of northern Syria against Pentagon-backed Kurdish forces, who have also accused Turkey of ethnic cleansing. With reports of these same Syrian rebels being sent to Azerbaijan to fight—reports strongly denied by both Turkey and Azerbaijan—Avetisyan said it's time for the international community, especially the U.S., to act.

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map: A map outlines the former Soviet province of Nagorno-Karabakh, now the heart of yet another deadly conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the South Caucasus region. Wikimedia © Wikimedia A map outlines the former Soviet province of Nagorno-Karabakh, now the heart of yet another deadly conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the South Caucasus region. Wikimedia

Asked about the alleged presence of Turkey-backed Syrian fighters in Azerbaijan, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters Friday he was aware of the reports but could neither confirm nor deny their veracity.

He did, however, note that such practice would likely prove destabilizing as it had in other regions where Turkey has intervened.

"I hope it's not the case," Pompeo said. " We saw Syrian fighters taken from the battlefields in Syria to Libya. That created more instability, more turbulence, more conflict, more fighting, less peace. I think it would do the same thing in the conflict in and around Nagorno-Karabakh as well. So I hope that reporting proves inaccurate."

Pompeo echoed the Minsk Group statement in urging for ceasefire and dialogue. Avetisyan had another, more radical solution: recognize the Artsakh Republic.

"It's long overdue," Avetisyan told Newsweek. "The United States should have recognized the Artsakh Republic very long ago because our historical, our legal, and, after so many attacks against us by aggressors, our moral preconditions for sovereignty are absolutely strong."

Not one of the 193 U.N. member states recognize the Artsakh Republic, not even Armenia. But this could soon change.

"Definitely, Armenia is considering such a possibility in light of the ongoing aggression," Armenian ambassador to the U.S. Varuzhan Nersesyan told Newsweek.

Nagorno-Karabakh: Leaders spar over missile attack claims in Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict

  Nagorno-Karabakh: Leaders spar over missile attack claims in Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict The president of the contested Nagorno-Karabakh region warned citizens in large cities of Azerbaijan Sunday to leave to avoid "inevitable loss" after he said Azerbaijan targeted civilians in the region's main city of Stepanakert the last couple of days. © Dmitriy Vinogradov/Sputnik via AP Smoke rises after the recent shelling, in Stepanakert, Nagorno-Karabakh. Nagorno-Karabakh leader Arayik Harutyunyan said on Twitter that "mil objects in large cities of Azerbaijan are the target of the Defense Army of #Artsakh. Calling on Azerbaijani population to leave these cities to avoid inevitable loss.

"As not to have a prejudice towards the outcome of the negotiation in the past, Armenia refrained from that step," he said. "But right now, that's one of the possible options, of course, if this aggression goes on."

He called on the U.S. to pursue negotiations based on the "fundamental issue of the right to self-determination" of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Baku's representative held the opposite view. He suggested Washington double down on denying the autonomy of the 1,700-square mile region home to some 150,000 people.

"All we need for the United States to do is to look at the map, look at the reality and understand that it is in the best interest of the United States to help Azerbaijan and Armenia to solve this conflict by ending this illegal occupation," Azerbaijani ambassador to the U.S. Elin Suleymanov told Newsweek.

"That's as simple as that," he said. "It's not about us, but it is actually about the long-term interests of the United States."

a close up of smoke: Azerbaijani artillery batteries fire at Armenian and Artsakh forces in Nagorno-Karabakh this photo shared October 2 by the Azerbaijan Defense Ministry. Azerbaijan is fighting to reassert its U.N.-recognized claim to self-ruling Nagorno-Karabakh, but Armenia says its up to the local, mostly ethnic Armenian population to decide their fate. Azerbaijan Ministry of Defense © Azerbaijan Ministry of Defense Azerbaijani artillery batteries fire at Armenian and Artsakh forces in Nagorno-Karabakh this photo shared October 2 by the Azerbaijan Defense Ministry. Azerbaijan is fighting to reassert its U.N.-recognized claim to self-ruling Nagorno-Karabakh, but Armenia says its up to the local, mostly ethnic Armenian population to decide their fate. Azerbaijan Ministry of Defense

When the issue was brought to the State Department, a spokesperson referred to the Minsk Group statement and told Newsweek, "Our position has been clear and has not changed."

The spokesperson reiterated the stated U.S. policy.

"Both sides must cease hostilities immediately and work with the Minsk Group Co-Chairs to return to substantive negotiations as soon as possible," the spokesperson said. "As a Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, the United States remains committed to helping the sides achieve a peaceful and sustainable settlement to the conflict."

Back in Stepanakert, Avetisyan said the Artsakh forces were capable of intercepting the Azerbaijani assault with or without any international support.

"I can assure you that as of now, we're relying on our own forces. We are not panicking," Avetisyan told Newsweek. "We're very confident Azerbaijan's blitzkrieg has failed. They cannot achieve anything militarily and politically, they just dug themselves into a deeper hole."

But, recalling past atrocities attributed to the Ottomans against Armenian populations in the region, he acknowledged what he felt was at stake.

Asked if he feared for his safety, he said, "I'm a human being, of course I am."

But he emphasized the determination of his people to hold their ground.

"It's not only me, there is a big team of people who are fighting on the front," Avetisyan told Newsweek. "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."

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Armenia's Prime Minister Accuses Turkey of 'Reinstating the Ottoman Empire' in Sending Mercenaries to Nagorno Karabakh .
The revival of the 30-year conflict threatens to engulf Armenia and Azerbaijan in all-out warIn fact, the battle already threatens to bleed beyond the mountainous 1700-square mile enclave in the South Caucasus to engulf Azerbaijan and Armenia in all-out war, and risks provoking an even wider conflagration. In an interview with TIME, Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan doubled down on accusations that its bitter rival Turkey is already intervening militarily on behalf of Azerbaijan, claiming President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is vying to extend his influence in the region.

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