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Azerbaijan launches operation against Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh/ 27 people killed and 200 injured

2023-09-20 07:45:00, Kosova & Bota CNA
Azerbaijan launches operation against Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh/ 27
Illustrative photo

At least 27 people have been killed and 200 others wounded in a military operation by Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, according to an official in the Armenian-controlled territory there.

Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry said on Tuesday it had launched an "anti-terrorist" campaign in the region, an ethnic Armenian enclave that is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan and has been the cause of two wars between the neighbors in the past three decades, most of the time the last in 2020.

Gegham Stepanyan said at least seven civilians had been killed, including two children, and at least 35 others were wounded in the operation after Armenian media and local authorities reported heavy shelling of the regional capital of Stepanakert.

Tensions in the region have been active for months since Azerbaijani troops blocked the Lachin corridor in December, cutting off the only road linking Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia and preventing food imports for its roughly 120,000 residents.

Russian peacekeepers, who were deployed in Nagorno-Karabakh under the terms of the 2020 ceasefire, have been tasked with preventing the outbreak of a new conflict. But Moscow has been accused of being unable or unwilling to step in to defend Armenia, its long-term ally, in the face of continued aggression from Azerbaijan.

Karabakh authorities said they have demanded immediate talks with Azerbaijan, amid continued shelling of the region.

In response, the Azerbaijani Presidency said it was ready to meet with the Armenians of Karabakh, but added in a statement: "To stop the anti-terrorist measures, the illegal Armenian armed groups must raise the white flag, surrender all weapons and the illegal regime must disintegrate itself. Otherwise, the anti-terrorist measures will continue until the end"./ CNA

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