Nagorno-Karabakh conflict claims shelling

Azerbaijan and Armenia on Wednesday blamed each other for killing civilians by shelling Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding towns in a month-long conflict over a mountain siege that halted three ceasefires. Is.

Nagorno-Karabakh conflict claims shelling

Azerbaijan says Armenian artillery shells hit the town of Barda, northeast of Nagorno-Karabakh, killing 14 people. Armenian-backed officials in Nagorno-Karabakh said Azeri shells hit two of the largest cities in the enclave, killing one person.


Both sides denied each other's claims.


The worst fighting in nearly 30 years in the South Caucasus has raised fears of a wider war in Azerbaijan's allies, Russia and Turkey. It also threatens oil and gas pipelines from Azerbaijan to world markets.


The Armenian Ministry of Defense also confirmed on Wednesday that Azerbaijan had captured the town of Gubadli, between the enclave and the Iranian border, a clear military advantage that could make a diplomatic solution more difficult.


Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognized’ as part of Azerbaijan but has a population and ethnic Armenians. About 30,000 people were killed’ in the 1991-94 war in the region.


Azerbaijan rejects any solution that would allow the Armenians to take control of the enclave, which it considers illegal occupiers. Armenia considers the area part of its historic homeland and says its population needs protection.


The Prosecutor General of the Azerbaijani office said 14 people were killed’ in Barda. Earlier, Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry said that the Armenian army had opened fire on settlements in the nearby Tartar region and Aghjabedi.


The Emergency and Rescue Service of the ethnic Armenian-controlled Nagorno-Karabakh said shells fell on Stepanakert, the largest town in the enclave. He said a civilian was killed’ in shelling in Shushi, another town 15 kilometers (9 miles) south.


Reuters could not independently verify the reports.


The Nagorno-Karabakh Ministry of Defense has recorded 1,068 military casualties since the fighting began on September 27. Azerbaijan has not disclosed its military casualties. Russia estimates the death toll at around 5,000.


The latest three ceasefires were broken in Washington on Sunday. US President Donald Trump has called the new battle "disappointing" and Foreign Secretary Mike Pompeo has called on both sides to work for a diplomatic solution.


The OSCE Minsk Group, set up to resolve the dispute and is headed by France, Russia and the United States, will meet with the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers in Geneva on Thursday. Turkey has demanded a bigger role in the group.


Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke by telephone with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday; expressing concern over what he said was the growing involvement of militants from the Middle East.


Erdogan said on Wednesday that Turkey was sincere in its efforts to resolve the conflict and believed in Russia's sincerity. He said he had told Putin that Armenia was using Kurdish militants.


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