Armenia and Azerbaijan are accused of breaking a “humanitarian truce” just hours after the measure came into force in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. This mountainous region in the southern Caucasus is at the center of the conflict between the two nations. The fighting began to intensify at the end of September with troops from the 2 countries advancing in an attempt to annex the region to their territories.
The “humanitarian truce” was agreed this Saturday (17.out.2020) and took effect from midnight, after a ceasefire mediated by Russia a week ago failed to stop the conflict that lasts more than 30 years.
However, Armenian Ministry of Defense spokeswoman Shushan Stepanyan, announced on Twitter that Azerbaijan broke the agreement just 4 minutes after the entry into force: “The enemy fired artillery in the North direction, between 0:04 am and 2:45 am [17h04 e 19h45 de 6ª feira em Brasília] and launched missiles heading south between 2:20 am and 2:45 am [19h20 e 19h45 de 6ª feira em Brasília]“.
The Ministry of Defense also said that it will take all “necessary measures” to reach 1 ceasefire and ways to apply it in the area.
Later, Azerbaijan also accused Armenia of breaking the truce. “The enemy fired in the vicinity of the city of Jabrail, as well as in the villages in that region, using mortars and artillery”, said the Azerbaijan Ministry of Defense, adding that the Army “Took appropriate retaliatory measures”. “There are victims and wounded on both sides”, officials in Nagorno-Karabakh said.
On Saturday (October 17), Azerbaijan had already accused Armenia of attacking Ganja, its 2nd largest city, with 1 ballistic missile that killed at least 13 civilians and wounded 50. About 20 residential buildings were destroyed and authorities passed hours looking for victims and survivors among the rubble. Ganja had already been hit last Sunday (12.out) by a missile, which killed 10 people and left more than 30 injured.
What is at stake in the conflict
Nagorno-Karabakh, a mountainous region south of the Caucasus, belongs to Azerbaijan, but has been under the control of ethnic forces supported by Armenia since a ceasefire was agreed in 1994, which ended a 6-year war over the territory.
Despite the ceasefire, the impasse prevailed and escalated again in September, with armed advances on the part of the 2 States in an attempt to incorporate the region into their borders. The latest fighting involves heavy artillery, missiles and drones, having already provoked the deaths of more than 700 people and the flight of others, in what is considered the worst conflict since the end of the war, 26 years ago.
With information from Agência Brasil