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Deadly Fighting Rages On In Karabakh


Nagorno-Karabakh -- A screenshot of Karabakh Armenian army video of fighting with Azerbaijani forces, September 27, 2020.

Heavy fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces continued in Nagorno-Karabakh for the second consecutive day on Monday despite international calls for an immediate ceasefire.

Karabakh’s Armenian-backed army reported “intensive” overnight hostilities at various sections of the Armenian-Azerbaijani “line of contact” around Karabakh. It said its troops recaptured “a number of positions” that were seized by Azerbaijani forces following the outbreak of the hostilities early on Sunday.

According to a spokeswoman for Armenia’s Defense Ministry, Shushan Stepanian, the Azerbaijani army “resumed offensive operations” there on Monday morning, using tanks and heavy artillery. “Armenian units are confidently dealing with Azerbaijani army attacks,” she wrote on Facebook.

The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said, meanwhile, that its frontline troops are “continuing their counteroffensive” after seizing several hills near a village in northeastern Karabakh.

Azerbaijani news agencies also reported that the ministry accused the Armenian side of shelling the nearby Azerbaijani town of Terter and threatened to take “adequate retaliatory measures.”

The Karabakh Armenian military said that 31 of its soldiers died and more than 100 others were wounded in Sunday’s clashes.

Baku did not release any casualty numbers as of Monday morning. Stepanian said that “several dozen” bodies of Azerbaijani soldiers killed in action are lying on the recaptured Karabakh Armenian positions.

The conflicting parties blame each for the worst flare-up of violence in the Karabakh conflict zone since 2016. The Armenian side says that it is the result of a large-scale Azerbaijani offensive. Baku insists, however, that its army went on a “counteroffensive” in response to Armenian shelling of Azerbaijani villages located close to the “line of contact.”

Russia, the United States, the European Union as well as Iran on Sunday expressed serious concern over the escalation and called for an immediate end to the hostilities. Top U.S. and Russian diplomats spoke with the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers by phone in a bid to ease the tensions.

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