Armenian and Azerbaijani forces have clashed leading to the death of 16 people and wounding 100 others.
The President of Azerbaijani Ilham Aliyev said on Sunday that his army had suffered losses in the fighting over the disputed separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Since 1994 at the end of a separatist war, the disputed region that lies within Azerbaijan but has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia. Nagorno-Karabakh is a mostly mountainous region of some 1,700 square miles and lies 30 miles from the Armenian border.
According to Nagorno-Karabakh leader Arayik Harutyunyan, the breakaway region has lost some positions to Azerbaijan’s army amid renewed clashes. He also said there were dead and wounded both among civilians and military personnel.
Meanwhile, Armenia claimed that two Azerbaijani helicopters were shot down and three Azerbaijani tanks were hit by artillery, but Azerbaijan’s defence ministry has rejected that claim.
In a televised address to the nation, the Azerbaijani president ordered martial law be imposed in some regions of the country and called for a curfew in major cities.
The long-running and unsuccessful negotiations for resolving the territory’s status have been conducted under the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), called on both sides to stop fighting.
Armenian prime minister Nikol Pashinian said on Sunday that the country could re-examine whether to recognise Nagorno-Karabakh as independent. Such a move would likely obstruct further negotiations.
Turkey a strong ally of Azerbaijan said ‘Armenia is playing with fire and endangering regional peace.’ ‘Armenia has violated the ceasefire by attacking civilian settlements … the international community must immediately say stop to this dangerous provocation.’
on Sunday, Pope Francis said that he was praying for peace between the two countries, urging them to them to ‘accomplish concrete deeds of goodwill and fraternity’ to reach a peaceful solution through dialogue.