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Clashes Erupt Between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh

YEREVAN/BAKU—Armenia declared martial law and mobilized its male population on Sunday after clashes with Azerbaijan over the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region in which sources on both sides reported fatalities.

Authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh, a mainly ethnic Armenian region inside Azerbaijan which declared independence in 1991, also announced martial law and mobilized the male population after clashes which the two sides blamed on each other.

A still image shows what is said to be Azerbaijani tanks in Nagorno-Karabakh
A still image shows what is said to be Azerbaijani tanks in Nagorno-Karabakh
Azerbaijani tanks and service members during clashes in the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh, are shown in this still image from footage released by the Armenian Defense Ministry on Sept. 27, 2020. (Defense Ministry of Armenia/Handout via Reuters)

Armenia said Azerbaijan had carried out an air and artillery attack on Nagorno-Karabakh, but Azerbaijan said it had responded to Armenian shelling.

Armenian human right activists said two civilians, a woman and a child, had been killed by Azeri shelling. Baku said an unspecified number of Azeri civilians had been killed and six wounded, and Nagorno-Karabakh said 10 of its military staff had been killed. The reports could not be independently confirmed.

Russias foreign ministry, a mediator in decades of conflict between majority Christian Armenia and mainly Muslim Azerbaijan, urged both sides to cease fire immediately and hold talks.

The two countries have long been at odds over Nagorno-Karabakh, which broke away from Azerbaijan in a conflict that broke out as the Soviet Union collapsed.

Though a ceasefire was agreed in 1994, Azerbaijan and Armenia frequently accuse each other of attacks around Nagorno-Karabakh and along the separate Azeri-Armenian frontier.

The conflict has worried Western and regional countries in part because it could cause instability in the South Caucasus, which serves as a corridor for pipelines transporting oil and gas to world markets.

Frequent Skirmishes

Armenias defense ministry said its troops had destroyed three tanks and shot down two helicopters and three unmanned aerial vehicles in response to an attack on civilian targets including Nagorno-Karabakhs capital, Stepanakert.

“Our response will be proportionate, and the military-political leadership of Azerbaijan bears full responsibility for the situation,” the ministry said in a statement echoed by the foreign ministry.

People attend a meeting to recruit military volunteers
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