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World Thousands flee homes as deaths mount in Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict

01:35  08 october  2020
01:35  08 october  2020 Source:   cbsnews.com

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.

Moscow — Fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani military forces over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh continued Wednesday for the 11th day The president of neighboring Iran, Hassan Rouhani, warned Wednesday that the Azerbaijan - Armenia conflict could escalate into a regional war.

Residents in the Azerbaijani town of Tartar have been forced to flee their homes as fighting in the neighbouring region of Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian The streets of Tartar have been deserted ever since Azerbaijan ’s army staked out a position in the town, making it a major target in the conflict .

Moscow — Fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani military forces over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh continued Wednesday for the 11th day, with no sign of a ceasefire. More than 300 people have reportedly been killed since the long-simmering dispute erupted in violence on September 27.

a man looking at the camera: Displaced Civilians Arrive In Armenia As Nagorno-Karabakh Clash Grows © Brendan Hoffman/Getty Displaced Civilians Arrive In Armenia As Nagorno-Karabakh Clash Grows

The two nations have disputed ownership of the mountainous enclave since becoming independent with the breakup of the former Soviet Union. Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, but it has been run autonomously by and is primarily populated by ethnic Armenians.

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.

The Nagorno-Karabakh War, referred to in Armenia as the Artsakh Liberation War, was an ethnic and territorial conflict that took place in the late 1980s to May 1994

The 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is an ongoing armed conflict between the armed forces of Azerbaijan and the self-proclaimed Republic of Artsakh

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An official from the regional administration said Wednesday that the fighting had already driven half of Nagorno-Karabakh's civilian population out of their homes.

a man that is standing in the rain: Vartanush Avakyan, 92, waits on a bus to ride to Yerevan, Armenia, after leaving her village of Gandzasar due to fighting in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, October 6, 2020 in Goris, Armenia. / Credit: Brendan Hoffman/Getty © Provided by CBS News Vartanush Avakyan, 92, waits on a bus to ride to Yerevan, Armenia, after leaving her village of Gandzasar due to fighting in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, October 6, 2020 in Goris, Armenia. / Credit: Brendan Hoffman/Getty

"According to our preliminary estimates, some 50% of Karabakh's population and 90% of women and children — or some 70,000-75,000 people — have been displaced," the Nagorno-Karabakh administration's rights ombudsman Artak Beglaryan, told the AFP news agency.

The fighting in the Caucasus has ended 25 years of relative peace, delivered by a ceasefire brokered to end a deadly war between the former Soviet republics over Nagorno-Karabakh in the 1990s.

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.

The bloody flareup between Azerbaijan and Armenia over a territorial dispute risks escalating into a major regional war. Yerevan supports the predominantly- Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh in their bid for independence, for which they fought a bloody war against Azerbaijan in the 1990s.

Azerbaijan 's president has vowed to fight on until Armenian forces leave disputed territory, on the More than 100 deaths have been reported in the heaviest fighting in years over the Civilian targets in Armenia and in Azerbaijan have also been hit. Both sides appear to be digging in for a longer conflict .

On Tuesday, Azerbaijani officials claimed that Armenian forces had targeted an oil pipeline with cluster munitions, which most nations have banned the use of. The Armenian Ministry of Defense promptly dismissed the accusation, insisting Armenian forces had not targeted any oil or gas infrastructure.

map: The breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh, recognized internationally as part of Azerbaijan, is seen in red.  / Credit: Getty/iStockphoto © Provided by CBS News The breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh, recognized internationally as part of Azerbaijan, is seen in red.  / Credit: Getty/iStockphoto

There have been claims from both sides that the other is indiscriminately shelling civilian areas.

Earlier this week, Amnesty International issued a report corroborating information that cluster munitions had been used during the bombardment of Stepanakert, Nagorno-Karabakh's main city, also known as Khankendi, by the Azerbaijani Armed Forces.

Amnesty called on both Armenia and Azerbaijan to become parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which neither of the two have signed.

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

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Azerbaijan does not release data on its military losses, but these can be assumed to be at least as high. The fighting appears to be driven by an attempt by Azerbaijani forces to recapture swathes of territories occupied by Armenian Civilian targets in Armenia and in Azerbaijan have also been hit.

This conflict is beneficial for both Azerbaijani and Armenian elites, in short term, as it allows to distract people from the economic issues (caused It would be reasonable to assume that a regional conflict of such magnitude happening now, on their watch, is far from being a mere coincidence.

The president of neighboring Iran, Hassan Rouhani, warned Wednesday that the Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict could escalate into a regional war. Those fears have been voiced, too, by independent analysts who note, specifically, the lack of any meaningful intervention by the Trump administration in the U.S.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has described it as a tragedy. Putin, who has not picked sides in the conflict and who's government has sold military hardware to both, said a peaceful resolution appeared "still a long way off, but in any case, we call for a ceasefire."

Putin spoke Wednesday on the phone with his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev. He had previously spoken with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan four times since the hostilities broke out, according to the Kremlin.

a person standing in front of a building: Ilgar Ferzeliyev walks inside his burnt home that was hit by a rocket, during the military conflict over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh, in Barda, Azerbaijan October 7, 2020. / Credit: UMIT BEKTAS/REUTERS © Provided by CBS News Ilgar Ferzeliyev walks inside his burnt home that was hit by a rocket, during the military conflict over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh, in Barda, Azerbaijan October 7, 2020. / Credit: UMIT BEKTAS/REUTERS

The Russian government has also voiced concern over the involvement of fighters from Syria in the conflict. French President Emmanuel Macron said last week that evidence suggested Syrian jihadist fighters had traveled to the Caucasus through Turkey, which backs Azerbaijan in the fighting.

Armenia has accused Turkey of sending Syrian mercenaries to join Azerbaijani forces.

Armenian officials have said they are ready to engage with mediators of the so-called Minsk group — France, Russia and the U.S., which helped negotiate the last ceasefire over Nagorno-Karahabk — to work toward a new agreement.

Thus far Azerbaijan, with Turkey's support, has rejected calls for a ceasefire, demanding instead the withdrawal of all Armenian forces from the breakaway region, and from adjacent territory seized during the war in the 1990s.

Nagorno-Karabakh volunteers get weapons as clashes intensify .
MARTUNI, Nagorno-Karabakh (AP) — As the fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces rages on in the separatist territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, its residents are joining volunteer squads to defend their towns. The Ovanisyan family and their neighbors were called Wednesday to receive their Kalashnikov rifles to help protect Martuni, a town close to the front line in the eastern part of the region. “I was summoned to the recruitment office to give me a gun so I can defend my land. I am always ready to fight for the well-being of my children," said Valery Ovanisyan, a 64-year-old Martuni resident.

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