Conflicts & War

At least 29 killed as Azerbaijan continues Karabakh offensive

Baku/Tiflis, Sep 20 (EFE).- Azerbaijan on Wednesday continued its military operation in Nagorno Karabakh, a breakaway region mainly populated by Armenians but claimed by the Azeri government, for the second day, with at least 29 people left dead by the fighting while local authorities have alleged attacks on civilian infrastructure.

The defense ministry of the self-proclaimed Republic of Nagorno Karabakh said that fighting of varied intensity continued throughout the line of contact with Azerbaijan and Azeri forces were trying to make advances while firing many types of weapons, also attacking civilian infrastructure.

Meanwhile the Azeri defense ministry said in its first bulletin on Wednesday morning that the “local anti-terrorist activities” of the military in the Karabakh region continued with the aim of disarming armed units and dissolving the “illegal regime” installed in the enclave.

Baku claimed that Azeri units “neutralized combat positions, military vehicles, artillery and anti-aircraft missile launchers, radio-electronic combat stations and other military means belonging to formations of the Armenian armed forces.”

The Armenian defense ministry has denied that it has armed units present in Nagorno Karabakh.

The Azeri operation has so far killed at least 27 people on the Karabakh side including seven civilians and wounded at least 35, Karabakh ombudsman Guegam Stepanyan said on X, formerly Twitter.

Meanwhile, the Azeri public prosecutor’s office reported that two men had been killed in bombing from the Karabakh side.

The Nagorno Karabakh people’s defense office alleged that Azerbaijan had destroyed the power supply network in the Martakert region – called Agdara by Azari authorities – and the entire population of the area was left without power.

It also accused the Azeri military of having fired at an ambulance headed towards a morgue in capital Stepanakert (Jankendi).

However, Azerbaijan’s defense ministry spokesperson Anar Eyvazov denied that their troops had attacked civilian targets.

“As part of the actions carried out by the Azerbaijan Armed Forces, civilians and civilian facilities are not attacked; Azerbaijan Army Units neutralize only legitimate military targets,” he said, claiming that Armenian army units had stationed military assets in populated areas and their surroundings.

This military operation follows a 10-month blockade of the disputed enclave by Azeri authorities after the closure of the only route connecting the region with Armenia.

In the 2020 war, Baku regained control of a significant portion of the disputed territories it had lost during the initial conflict in the early 1990s in Nagorno-Karabakh.

The conflict ended with a Russia-brokered truce, which deployed a peacekeeping force in the enclave and on Tuesday urged both sides to stop hostilities.

Armenia has accused Azeri forces of attempting an “ethnic cleansing” and forcible occupation of the areas that it was unable to seize during the 44-day conflict in 2020.

Amid Yerevan’s allegations that its peacekeepers were allowing the Azeri aggression, Moscow has argued that Armenia’s admission that Nagorno Karabakh belonged to Azerbaijan – during two summits held under the aegis of the European Union in October 2022 and May 2023 – has changed the basic conditions under which the November 2020 ceasefire agreement was signed. EFE

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