Fresh clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh
October 21, 2020 - The foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan are due to meet U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington on Friday in efforts to end the heaviest fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh since the 1990s.
Armenia and Azerbaijan announced a ceasefire on Saturday in a bid to halt the fighting that has killed hundreds since September 27, when the latest outbreak of hostilities started, marking the worst escalation of a decades-old conflict. The agreement – just like a ceasefire deal brokered by Russia a week earlier – was almost immediately challenged by mutual claims of violations and the fighting resumed unabated.
Nagorno-Karabakh lies within Azerbaijan but has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since a war there ended in 1994. By then, Armenian forces not only held Nagorno-Karabakh itself but also captured substantial areas outside the territory’s borders.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said the nation’s military reclaimed control over multiple towns and villages in the Jabrayil and Fizuli regions, two of the seven Azerbaijani regions outside Nagorno-Karabakh that were seized by Armenian forces during the war in the early 1990s.
Aliyev also said Azerbaijani forces took control of the town of Zangilan and several nearby villages just south of Nagorno-Karabakh, as well as a number of villages in the region.
According to Nagorno-Karabakh officials, 773 of their troops have been killed since Sept. 27, along with over 30 civilians. Azerbaijan hasn’t disclosed its military losses, but says 61 civilians have died so far and 291 have been wounded.
The deadly flighting prompted calls for the cessation of hostilities from around the globe and raised concerns of a wider conflict involving Turkey, which has publicly supported Azerbaijan, and Russia, which has a security pact with Armenia.