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World Why Armenia and Azerbaijan are fighting, and why it could get uglier

16:35  05 october  2020
16:35  05 october  2020 Source:   cbsnews.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.

Why are they fighting now? An Armenian revolution in 2018 ushered in a new generation of leadership and raised hopes that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict could move towards resolution. Those aspirations have since dwindled, with Armenia ’s prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan, taking a firm – and

Fighting has intensified along the effective Armenian - Azerbaijani border around the disputed In 2004, both Armenia and Azerbaijan sent military officers to an English-language course in But after Azerbaijan managed to get Safarov transferred from Hungary to Azerbaijan eight years into his life An unexpected Azerbaijani surge could also prompt much more direct intervention by Moscow, most

a train on a track with smoke coming out of it: APTOPIX Armenia Azerbaijan © Karo Sahakyan/ArmGov PAN Photo/AP APTOPIX Armenia Azerbaijan a train is parked on the side of a building: Shrapnel holes in a car as a building burns in the background after shelling by Azerbaijan's artillery during a military conflict in self-proclaimed Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, Stepanakert, Azerbaijan, October 4, 2020.  / Credit: Karo Sahakyan/ArmGov PAN Photo/AP © Provided by CBS News Shrapnel holes in a car as a building burns in the background after shelling by Azerbaijan's artillery during a military conflict in self-proclaimed Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, Stepanakert, Azerbaijan, October 4, 2020.  / Credit: Karo Sahakyan/ArmGov PAN Photo/AP

Moscow — Dozens of people have reportedly been killed and hundreds more wounded since fighting erupted between Azerbaijan and Armenia just over a week ago. The two countries' military forces are clashing over the Azerbaijani breakaway territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, and with some major world powers backing opposing sides in the standoff — and the U.S. notably absent — there are concerns the conflict in the Balkans could escalate.

War between Armenia and Azerbaijan helps no one, except Russia

  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.

What are Armenia and Azerbaijan fighting over? Why Caucasus flare-up risks wider war. And one fighter has told BBC Arabic he was recruited in northern Syria last week and sent via Turkey to fight in the conflict. Ilnur Cevik, an adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, dismissed the report

US embassies in Azerbaijan and Armenia both issued travel advisories to their citizens, warning of possible heightened violence in Nagorno-Karabakh. It was not until Thursday – five days since the war erupted – that a full Minsk Group statement was issued condemning the fighting .

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.

Officials on both sides claim to have inflicted serious losses on the other's. Both sides claim the other has killed civilians, and they accuse each other of refusing to agree to cease fire.

Videos posted online from the battleground show an unprecedented use of heavy artillery, tanks, missiles, and even kamikaze drones as the fighting escalated over the course of last week.

'Imagine Caucasus becoming another Syria?': Armenia’s president pleas for urgent international support

  'Imagine Caucasus becoming another Syria?': Armenia’s president pleas for urgent international support Armenian President Armen Sarkissian issued a stern warning to the international community on Wednesday, as tensions flare between Armenia and Azerbaijan. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); "Imagine Caucasus becoming another Syria?" Sarkissian told CNBC's Hadley Gamble from Yerevan."The international community has to realize that if you don't interfere now, then Caucasus will become another huge problem," Sarkissian cautioned.

Why now? The reasons for the surge in violence in the region can be attributed to both long- and "I think there are risks of outside powers getting drawn in," associate fellow on the Russia and Malashenko thinks an international conference between Armenia and Azerbaijan that involves

Civilians are killed and injured as major cities are shelled in growing conflict between Azerbaijan and Fighting intensified between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh More than 220 people are thought to have died in the conflict in the last week Azerbaijan 's defence ministry said meanwhile that Armenian forces had shelled Ganja, a city of

What is behind the dispute?

Armenia and Azerbaijan both used to be part of the Soviet Union, but since that crumbled, the new borders have remained in dispute.

When Soviet Communist rule was nearing its end in the late 1980s, the mountainous region of Nagorno-Karabakh's autonomous legislature voted to join Armenia. As the Soviet Union dissolved, Nagorno-Karabakh proclaimed its independence, which led to a war with tens of thousands of casualties. It has not been recognized by any other country as an independent state

Internationally still recognized as part of Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh is predominantly populated by ethnic Armenians.

A woman cries at © Provided by CBS News A woman cries at

The long-simmering conflict has been mediated by the "Minsk group," set up by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in 1994 and co-chaired by Russia, France and the United States.

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.

Why is this flareup happening now? Azerbaijan says Armenia provoked them with aggression. Armenia says Azerbaijani forces attacked. These clashes killed 11 Azerbaijani soldiers and one civilian, Azerbaijan said, and prompted tens of thousands of protesters to take to the streets of Baku

Azerbaijan and Armenia have defied calls for a ceasefire amid the worst fighting in decades between the two over a disputed territory. Nagorno-Karabakh is officially part of Azerbaijan but governed by separatist ethnic Armenians . Years of negotiations have never resulted in a peace treaty.

The hostilities that began at the end of September are said to be the worst since 1994, when the war ended with a ceasefire and Armenia taking control of the region.

"One step away" from war

Despite that ceasefire, skirmishes have continued along the so-called "line of contact" over the past three decades. The last serious flare-up was in 2016, when dozens of troops on both sides were killed.

Then over this past summer tensions flared again, but this time, with a global pandemic distracting Europe and racial unrest and election year politics engulfing the U.S., there was no serious diplomatic effort made to deescalate the standoff.


Video: Military Strikes Between Armenia and Azerbaijan Claim Civilian Lives (Inside Edition)

"All the signals were in place, everything was telling that escalation was coming. And there was diplomatic silence," Olesya Vartanyan, senior analyst for the South Caucasus region at the International Crisis Group, told CBS News.

"We are definitely one step away from a large-scale war in the region," she said, noting that such a conflict could embroil Russia, Turkey, or both.

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 Can Cam lead Patriots past Chiefs Sunday?

Azerbaijan earlier said two Azerbaijani civilians had been killed in Armenian shelling in Azerbaijan on Monday, following the deaths of five people from the same family a day earlier. Armenia and Azerbaijan - which have already mobilised more soldiers and declared martial law in some areas

Why are there so many exclaves in the border of Azerbaijan - Armenia ? Would Armenia or Azerbaijan win in a new war over Nagorno-Karabakh? Right at this moment there are fights in some directions of the front, however the Karabakh Defence Forces forced the Azerbaijani army to retreat back to the

Russia has close ties with both Armenia and Azerbaijan, and it has sold military hardware to both countries. Armenia is Russia's military ally, however, and Moscow has a base in the country.

Turkey, a member of NATO and also the Minsk group, has openly backed predominantly-Muslim Azerbaijan in the conflict, calling Armenia a threat to peace in the region.

The Armenian Ministry of Defense said last week that one of its jets was shot down by a Turkish F-16. A spokeswoman with the ministry said the Turkish plane took off from the territory of Azerbaijan, flew into Armenia and shot down the Armenian SU-25 military aircraft. Azerbaijan and Turkey have dismissed the allegation.

What is the international response?

On Thursday, the U.S., France and Russia condemned the fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh in a joint statement.

"We call for an immediate cessation of hostilities between the relevant military forces," the statement by the presidents of the three countries said. "We also call on the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan to commit without delay to resuming substantive negotiations"

a man riding a snowboard down a snow covered slope: A firefighter extinguishes a fire in a house caused by shelling amid fighting over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh, in the town of Barda, Azerbaijan, October 5, 2020. / Credit: AZIZ KARIMOV/REUTERS © Provided by CBS News A firefighter extinguishes a fire in a house caused by shelling amid fighting over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh, in the town of Barda, Azerbaijan, October 5, 2020. / Credit: AZIZ KARIMOV/REUTERS

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said last week that he had called the foreign ministers of both Armenia and Azerbaijan to say Russia was willing to host talks.

Azerbaijan, Armenia no closer to ending clashes after 4 days

  Azerbaijan, Armenia no closer to ending clashes after 4 days YEREVAN, Armenia (AP) — Heavy fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces over the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh continued for a fourth straight day on Wednesday, with statements from both sides indicating that the flare-up of a decades-old conflict that has killed dozens of people since Sunday was no closer to an end. The president of Azerbaijan said Armenia's withdrawal from Nagorno-Karabakh was the sole condition to end fighting over the separatist territory. Armenian officials alleged Turkey's involvement in the renewed conflict and said its neighbor's actions “hinder the efforts of the international community to cease the hostilities.

On Monday, Iran, which sits just to the south of both countries, also offered to help, with the regime saying it had "plan" ready to present to Armenia and Azerbaijan this week.

Thus far, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkey have all dismissed the international community's calls for a ceasefire and offers to broker peace talks.

Washington's role

The Trump administration also issued a unilateral statement last week calling on the warring sides to show restraint, but it was the last major international actor to respond — a possible sign of the extent to which the White House is focused on the upcoming election, at the expense of diplomacy.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan spoke on Thursday with President Trump's National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien. Pashinyan later told French TV and The New York Times that he had raised the alleged use of U.S.-supplied F-16 aircraft in the conflict by Turkey, purportedly in support of Azerbaijan.

"The United States," Pashinyan told The New York Times, "needs to explain whether it gave those F-16s to bomb peaceful villages and peaceful populations." He said O'Brien "heard and acknowledged" his concerns, and promised to arrange a phone call between Armenia's leader and Mr. Trump.

But that all transpired just as Mr. Trump was confirmed to have contracted the new coronavirus and was quickly admitted to Walter Reed hospital in Washington for treatment.

Vartanyan, of the International Crisis Group, noted that President Trump's recent predecessors all made efforts to pacify previous flare-ups between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

"Even before the fighting, many senior officials in the region told me they felt no U.S. interest in this conflict for more than three years," she said.

Washington's atypical disengagement in this instance could leave room for a further escalation of the conflict, according to Thomas de Waal, a senior fellow with the Carnegie Europe think tank.

"The flare-up can also be seen as a symptom of a world in which the U.S. is no longer acting to defuse regional conflicts," de Waal wrote in a commentary published by last week by Politico Europe.

Armenia, Azerbaijan tensions rise amid claims of new attacks .
YEREVAN, Armenia (AP) — The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan escalated Wednesday, as both sides exchanged accusations and claims of new attacks over the separatist territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, where heavy fighting continues for a third week despite a cease-fire deal. In a statement compounding fears of a wider conflict, Armenian Defense Ministry claimed it reserves the right to target Azerbaijani military objects and troop movements. That followed an announcement by the Azerbaijani military that it destroyed an Armenian missile system “targeted ... to inflict casualties among the peaceful population and to destroy civilian infrastructure.

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