YEREVAN/ISTANBUL: Twenty-eight separatist rebel fighters died in clashes with Azerbaijani troops on Monday, officials in Azerbaijan’s breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region said, bringing their...
YEREVAN/ISTANBUL: Twenty-eight separatist rebel fighters died in clashes with Azerbaijani troops on Monday, officials in Azerbaijan’s breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region said, bringing their military death toll to 59.
World leaders have urged a halt in fighting after the worst escalation since 2016 raised the spectre of a fresh war between the ex-Soviet rivals Armenia and Azerbaijan. No country recognises Karabakh’s independence -- not even Armenia -- and it is still considered part of Azerbaijan by the international community. "Twenty-eight servicemen died in action" on Monday, Karabakh’s defence ministry said in a statement on the second day of fighting. The total death toll rose to 68 including nine civilian deaths: seven in Azerbaijan and two on the Armenian side. Azerbaijan has not yet released information on military casualties since the latest fighting broke out.
Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday demanded Armenia put an end to its "occupation" of Nagorno-Karabakh after deadly clashes broke out along the border of Azerbaijan´s breakaway region.
"The time has come for the crisis in the region that started with the occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh to be put to an end," Erdogan said. "Once Armenia immediately leaves the territory it is occupying, the region will return to peace and harmony," he said in a prepared address.
Erdogan once again blamed Armenia for starting the latest escalation, accusing the United States, Russia and France of failing to properly address the conflict in so-called "Minsk Group" talks. "They basically did everything they could not to resolve the issue," Erdogan said. "Now Azerbaijan must take matters into its own hands."