Azerbaijan shells Nagorno-Karabakh as hostilities with Armenia flare

Azerbaijan says it has launched an “anti-terrorist operation” targeting Armenian military positions in the Nagorno-Karabakh region and officials in the area are reported heavy artillery firing around its capital.

Armenian separatists in Nagorno-Karabakh say Azerbaijani forces are trying to advance into the disputed region and that its forces are “resisting” the push.

“The Azerbaijani Armed Forces are trying to advance into the depth of Artsakh,” it says, using an Armenian name for Karabakh. “The Defence Forces continue to resist Azerbaijani’s offensive along the entire line of contact.”

The Azerbaijani defense ministry announced the start of the operation hours after four soldiers and two civilians died in landmine explosions in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. The reports raised concerns that a full-scale war over the region could resume between Azerbaijan and Armenia, which fought heavily for six weeks in 2020.

Azerbaijan says “positions on the front line and in-depth, long-term firing points of the formations of Armenia’s armed forces, as well as combat assets and military facilities are incapacitated using high-precision weapons.”

The Azerbaijani statement claims that “only legitimate military targets are being incapacitated.”

But ethnic Armenian officials in Nagorno-Karabakh say in a statement that the region’s capital Stepanakert and other villages are “under intense shelling.”

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