Armenia and Azerbaijan continue deadly fight for disputed region

ARMENIA-AZERBAIYAN

Clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijani forces over the disputed separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh are continuing after hostilities broke out on Sunday.

The Azerbaijani Defence Ministry claimed that Armenian forces started shelling the town of Tartar on Monday morning, while Armenian officials said the fighting continued throughout the night and Baku resumed "offensive actions" in the morning.

Azerbaijan's Defence Ministry told the Interfax news agency that more than 550 Armenian troops have been "destroyed (including those wounded)", a claim that Armenian officials denied.

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Armenia and Azerbaijan clash over disputed region
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Armenia and Azerbaijan clash over disputed region
In this image taken from footage released by Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, Azerbaijan's soldiers fire from a mortar at the contact line of the self-proclaimed Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan. Fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces over the disputed separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh continued on Monday morning after erupting the day before, with both sides blaming each other for resuming the attacks. (Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry via AP)
En esta imagen tomada de un video publicado por el Ministerio azerbaiyano de Defensa el domingo 27 de septiembre de 2020, fuerzas de Azerbaiyán destruyen un sistema antiaéreo armenio en la línea del frente de la autoproclamada República de Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaiyán. Fuerzas de Armenia y Azerbaiyán seguían combatiendo el lunes 28 de septiembre en torno a la región disputada de Nagorno-Karabakh, después del inicio de las hostilidades el día anterior. Ambas partes se acusaron mutuamente de reanudar los ataques mortales. (Ministerio azerbaiyano de Defensa via AP)
In this image taken from footage released by Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, an Azerbaijan's rocket launches from missile system at the contact line of the self-proclaimed Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan. Fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces over the disputed separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh continued on Monday morning after erupting the day before, with both sides blaming each other for resuming the attacks. (Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry via AP)
In this handout photo released by the Armenian Foreign Ministry on Monday, Sept. 28, 2020, people watch the State TV as they gather in a bomb shelter to protect against the shelling in Stepanakert, the self-proclaimed Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan. Nagorno-Karabakh authorities reported that shelling hit the region's capital of Stepanakert and the towns of Martakert and Martuni. Armenian Defense Ministry spokesman Artsrun Hovhannisyan also said Azerbaijani shelling hit within Armenian territory near the town of Vardenis. (Armenian Foreign Ministry via AP)
En una imagen tomada de un video dado a conocer por el Ministerio de Defensa de Armenia el domingo 27 de septiembre de 2020, fuerzas armenias destruyen un vehículo militar azerbaiyano en la autoproclamada República de Nagorno-Karabakh, en Azerbaiyán. (Ministerio de Defensa de Armenia vía AP)
In this handout photo released by the Armenian Foreign Ministry on Monday, Sept. 28, 2020, people watch the State TV as they gather in a bomb shelter to protect against the shelling in Stepanakert, the self-proclaimed Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan. Nagorno-Karabakh authorities reported that shelling hit the region's capital of Stepanakert and the towns of Martakert and Martuni. Armenian Defense Ministry spokesman Artsrun Hovhannisyan also said Azerbaijani shelling hit within Armenian territory near the town of Vardenis. (Armenian Foreign Ministry via AP)
In this image taken from a footage released by Armenian Defense Ministry on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, Armenian forces destroy Azerbaijani military vehicle at the contact line of the self-proclaimed Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan. Fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan has broken out around the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh and the Armenian Defense Ministry says two Azerbaijani helicopters have been shot down. Ministry spokeswoman Shushan Stepanyan also said Armenian forces hit three Azerbaijani tanks. (Armenian Defense Ministry via AP)
In this image taken from a footage released by Armenian Defense Ministry on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, Armenian forces destroy Azerbaijani tank at the contact line of the self-proclaimed Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan. Fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan has broken out around the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh and the Armenian Defense Ministry says two Azerbaijani helicopters have been shot down. Ministry spokeswoman Shushan Stepanyan also said Armenian forces hit three Azerbaijani tanks. (Armenian Defense Ministry via AP)
In this handout photo taken from a footage released by Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, Azerbaijan's forces destroy Armenian anti-aircraft system at the contact line of the self-proclaimed Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan. Fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan broke out Sunday around the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh and the Armenian Defense Ministry said two Azerbaijani helicopters were shot down. Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev said in a televised address to the nation that "there are losses among the Azerbaijani forces and the civilian population as a result of the Armenian bombardment" but did not give further details. (Armenian's Defense Ministry via AP)
In this photo provided by the Azerbaijan's Presidential Press Office provided on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev gestures as he addresses the nation in Baku, Azerbaijan. Fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan broke out Sunday around the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh and the Armenian Defense Ministry said two Azerbaijani helicopters were shot down. Ministry spokeswoman Shushan Stepanyan also said Armenian forces hit three Azerbaijani tanks. (Azerbaijani Presidential Press Office via AP)
This handout photo released by Armenian Foreign Ministry on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, shows a damaged after shelling flat in Stepanakert, the self-proclaimed Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan. Fighting has erupted anew between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh. Armenia said a woman and a child were killed in the area Sunday by shelling from Azerbaijani forces and Azerbaijan's president said his military has suffered losses. (Edgar Kamalyan/Armenian Foreign Ministry via AP)
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian pauses as he speaks at the Armenian parliament in Yerevan, Armenia, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020. Pashinian on Sunday said the country could reexamine whether to recognize Nagorno-Karabakh as independent. Such a move would likely obstruct further negotiations. (Tigran Mehrabyan, Government Press Office, PAN Photo via AP)
In this image taken from footage released by Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, Azerbaijan's soldiers fire from a mortar at the contact line of the self-proclaimed Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan. Fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces over the disputed separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh continued on Monday morning after erupting the day before, with both sides blaming each other for resuming the attacks. (Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry via AP)
A man stands inside a house damaged by recent attack of Azeri forces in the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh's city of Martuni on September 28, 2020. (Photo by Hayk Baghdasaryan / PHOTOLURE / AFP) (Photo by HAYK BAGHDASARYAN/PHOTOLURE/AFP via Getty Images)
BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - SEPTEMBER 27: People greet Azerbaijani service members in military vehicles on September 27, 2020 in Baku, Azerbaijan. Since July there has been rising tensions on the disputed Armenia and Azerbaijan borders, Nagorno-Karabakh region. (Photo by Aziz Karimov/Getty Images)
BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - SEPTEMBER 27: People greet Azerbaijani service members in military vehicles on September 27, 2020 in Baku, Azerbaijan. Since July there has been rising tensions on the disputed Armenia and Azerbaijan borders, Nagorno-Karabakh region. (Photo by Aziz Karimov/Getty Images)
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According to Nagorno-Karabakh officials, 31 servicemen have been killed so far. On Sunday, the territory's defence ministry also reported two civilian deaths – a woman and her grandson.

Some 200 people have been wounded in the fighting, the Armenian Defence Ministry said on Monday, while Azerbaijani authorities said 26 civilians have been wounded on their side.

The heavy fighting broke out on Sunday morning in the region that lies within Azerbaijan but has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since 1994 at the end of a separatist war.

It was not immediately clear what sparked the fighting, the heaviest since clashes in July killed 16 people from both sides.

Mostly mountainous Nagorno-Karabakh – a region around 1,700 square miles — lies 30 miles from the Armenian border. Local soldiers backed by Armenia also occupy some Azerbaijani territory outside the region.

The European Union has urged both sides to halt the fighting and return to the negotiating table, following similar calls by Iran, Russia, France and the United States.

"We hope and we urge everyone to do everything they can in order to prevent an all-out war from breaking out, because this is the last thing the region needs," European Commission spokesman Peter Stano told reporters in Brussels. "There is no military solution to this conflict."

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh "is a cause for concern for Moscow and other countries".

"We believe that the hostilities should be immediately ended," Mr Peskov told reporters, adding that the process of resolving the conflict between the two countries should shift into "a politico-diplomatic" dimension.

Armenia's Foreign Ministry has accused Turkey, who sides with Azerbaijan in the conflict, of "supporting this aggression".

The ministry said "Turkish military experts are fighting side by side with Azerbaijan, who are using Turkish weapons, including UAVs and warplanes". The situation on the ground "clearly indicates" that people in Nagorno-Karabakh are fighting against "a Turkish-Azerbaijani alliance", the statement read.

Both Armenia and Turkey have accused each other of recruiting foreign mercenaries.

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