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Conflict sparked between Armenia and Azerbaijan over territorial dispute

Armenia and Azerbaijan erupt into fighting over disputed Nagorno-Karabakh. Photo:Getty


Conflict sparked between Armenia and Azerbaijan over territorial dispute


By Patryk Krych | The World Daily | SEPTEMBER 27th 2020


Conflict had been struck between the countries of Armenia and Azerbaijan, in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, over a territorial dispute. Both countries are blaming the other for the intensification of violence that some fear may turn into a war.

The Nagorno-Karabakh region is the area in questions that the territorial dispute had been started over, with both sides staking their claim to it. Casualties were reported after fighting broke out in the region, having begun on Sunday. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan stated that martial law would be put into effect.

“The government has decided to declare martial law and a total mobilisation,” Pashinyan wrote over Facebook, additionally telling Armenian citizens to “Get ready to defend our sacred homeland.”

This is a decades-long conflict that’s only recently been brought back into the light, following this escalation in conflict. The dispute had begun sometime in 1991, when Nagorno-Karabakh declared its independence from Azerbaijan near the collapse of the Soviet Union. This led to the outbreak of war in the region, thus causing the deaths of some 30,000 people in the process. Later in 1994, a ceasefire was struck between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

There have been frequent occurrences of violence between the two countries in the years since the ceasefire, along the border, though none as major as this. Any hopes for peace had already been ruined back in 2010, when a group marked The Minsk Group, which included officials from Russia, France, as well as the US, had tried to resolve the quarrel. Since then, no further proper attempts were made.

There were reports of “civilian casualties” in Nagorno-Karabakh, according to ombudsman Artak Beglaryan. Hikmet Hajiyev, spokesman for the Azerbaijani presidency, had added to this distressing notion, stating that “There are reports of dead and wounded among civilians and military servicemen,” and referred to the attacks from the Armenians as “deliberate and targeted.”

Officially, Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognised to be a part of Azerbaijan. However, it is, and has been under the control of Armenian military forces for a long time. Armenia was first to accuse Azerbaijan of attacking several civilian settlements in the area, including the city of Stepanakert. The Armenian defence ministry added that they’d downed two Azerbaijan helicopters throughout the outbreak of fighting, as well as destroyed at least ten tanks.

Azerbaijan’s defence ministry dashed these claims, having stated that their’s was a “counteroffensive to suppress Armenia’s combat activity and ensure the safety of the population” in the conflicted region. Azerbaijan, throughout the outbreak of fighting, used tanks, helicopters, drones as well as artillery missiles. The fighting was severe.

Though both countries have declared martial law, Azerbaijan's army stated that, being fully staffed, they don’t see a need for this.

It is yet unclear which side was responsible for initiating and thereby escalating the stream of violence that arose and brought casualties to the area’s civilians, but the Armenian defence ministry stated that “Our response will be proportionate, and the military-political leadership of Azerbaijan bears full responsibility for the situation.”

Russia's Foreign Ministry called for an immediate re-ignition of the ceasefire, and asked that talks be held between the two countries in order to help end the situation as soon as possible. “We are calling on the sides to immediately halt fire and begin talks to stabilise the situation,” the ministry said.

In Turkey, who are known to have a relatively negative history with Armenia, the presidential spokesman tweeted that “Armenia has violated the ceasefire by attacking civilian settlements … The international community must immediately say stop to this dangerous provocation.”

The total number of casualties is yet unverified, and the fighting is still under way in some places of the region. No talks have yet been managed to be established, but foreign ministries have hope that they can assist in reinitiating peaceful negotiations.


By Patryk Krych | © The World Daily 2020