Baku, Sep 19 (EFE).- Azerbaijan announced an “anti-terrorist operation” on Tuesday in the contested Nagorno-Karabakh region after two mine explosions killed six people that Baku blamed on “illegal Armenian armed groups.”
The Azerbaijan defense ministry said the “local anti-terrorist operation” in the region would “disarm and secure the withdrawal of formations of Armenia’s armed forces from our territories, neutralize their military infrastructure, ensure the safety of civilians, (and) restore constitutional order.”
In a press statement, the ministry said the operation sought guaranteed compliance with the provisions of a three-party declaration between Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Russia, which ended the 2020 war.
The 2020 war resulted in Baku regaining control of a significant portion of the disputed territories that it had lost during the initial conflict in the early 1990s in Nagorno Karabakh, which is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan.
This so-called anti-terror operation follows the deaths of six Azerbaijanis—two civilians and four police officers—in two mine explosions in the Karabakh region. Additionally, there was an attack involving mortars and light weapons in the Agdam region, which houses Russian peacekeepers.
Baku attributed these attacks to “a sabotage group of illegal Armenian military formations.”
It opened a criminal case against unknown people on charges of terrorism, premeditated murder fueled by ethnic hatred, and illegal weapons and explosives possession.
Nagorno-Karabakh, historically inhabited by Armenians, was internationally recognized as Azerbaijani territory following the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
However, the landlocked region in the South Caucasus declared independence in 1991, leading to ongoing disputes between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
The two neighbors fought two wars, one in the early 1990s and another in 2020.
Azerbaijan reclaimed more than two-thirds of its territory in the mountainous region and its surroundings after the 44-day war in the autumn of 2020.
But Armenia had to maintain communication with the enclave through the corridor of Lachin, currently under blockade by Azerbaijan for nine months.
Tensions have spiked between Azerbaijan and Armenia amid reports of troop movements on both sides of the disputed enclave.
The military buildup has threatened the ceasefire reached in 2020 with Russian mediation. EFE