Armenian separatist forces from Nagorno-Karabakh and the Azerbaijani army accused each other on Sunday of bombing civilian areas, causing casualties, on the second day Sunday of a humanitarian truce that has still not been established. Azerbaijan has reported seven civilians killed and 33 wounded in the night bombing of the country’s second city, Gandja, some sixty kilometers from the front line and which has been targeted several times this week. The attorney general’s office said an apartment building was hit, denouncing a “deliberate attack on the civilian population”.
On the spot, rescuers wearing red helmets searched with their bare hands in the rubble of a building, journalists from Agence France-Presse noted on Sunday morning, who also saw the naked body of a victim emerging from the rubble. Weeping women attended the scene. In total, nine apartments were destroyed, according to witnesses, by a strike at 2 a.m. local time.
The Defense Ministry of the Armenian separatists of Nagorno Karabakh denied having bombed Gandja: “It is an absolute lie. “He assures us” to respect the humanitarian cease-fire agreement “negotiated in Moscow on Friday and supposed to be in force since Saturday 12 hours. Already on Saturday, the belligerents accused each other of violating the cease-fire. The separatists said on Sunday that the Azerbaijani army struck “Stepanakert, Hadrut, Martouni and other populated areas” overnight.
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The separatist presidency denounced “a total lack of respect for the Moscow agreement” and “an aggression against the civilian population”. The capital of the Nagorno-Karabakh region, Stepanakert, was indeed the target of strikes during the night from Saturday to Sunday, according to journalists from Agence France-Presse on the spot who counted between three and four waves of bombings, followed by ten explosions each time.
A very fragile ceasefire
The humanitarian truce negotiated in Russia by the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers, under the aegis of Russian diplomacy, should allow the exchange of bodies of soldiers and prisoners.
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Nagorno Karabakh, a territory mainly populated by Armenians, seceded from Azerbaijan after a war that left 30,000 dead in the 1990s. Baku accuses Yerevan of occupying its territory, and the attacks of violence are regular . The fighting since September 27 between Nagorno Karabakh troops, supported by Yerevan, and Azerbaijani forces have been the most serious since the 1994 ceasefire.
More than 450 dead
For the time being, more than 450 dead have been recorded, including about sixty civilians, a toll which could in reality be much heavier, Azerbaijan not publishing a toll of its soldiers killed and each camp claiming to have killed thousands. of opposing soldiers. The reality on the ground remains unclear, each camp systematically denying the successes claimed by the other. Azerbaijan claims to have conquered a large number of villages, while Nagorno Karabakh forces claim to push back the opposing army. The truce negotiated in Moscow was made after multiple appeals from the international community, including the conflict mediator, the Minsk Group, which is co-chaired by Russia, France and the United States.
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Azerbaijan, backed by Turkey’s support, has warned that its military operations will only cease definitively in the event of an Armenian withdrawal from Nagorno-Karabakh. The fear is to see this conflict internationalize, Ankara encouraging Baku to the offensive and Moscow being bound by a military treaty with Yerevan. Turkey is also accused of sending Proturc fighters from Syria to fight alongside the Azerbaijanis, which Baku denies.