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Azerbaijan’s recent escalation in Karabakh: What we know so far (video)

Azerbaijan’s recent escalation in Karabakh: What we know so far

PanARMENIAN.Net - Azerbaijan on Tuesday, July 4 violated the ceasefire on the contact line with Nagorno Karabakh (Artsakh) using various caliber mortars and even employed a TR-107 rocket engine in the south of the frontline.

“It’s worth mentioning that this is the first time since the escalation in April 2016 that the Azerbaijani armed forces use such a weapon,” the Karabakh Defense Army said in a statement.

Artsakh’s defense ministry in the statement drew the attention of relevant international organizations to the incident and warned of retaliation to the Azerbaijani side.

Following the grave ceasefire violations on Tuesday, the Karabakh Defense Army struck the Azerbaijani positions in retaliation.

According to a second statement, the Artsakh troops initiated military actions between 08:31pm and 08:40pm, causing serious damage to the rival.

The Karabakh side has sustained no injuries during the operations.

Also, the Defense Ministry provided more details concerning the ceasefire violations by Azerbaijan, according to which the latter has also fired from 60- and 82-mm mortars.

On Wednesday, RazmInfo - a military news and analysis website - made its own investigation into the incident and revealed that Azerbaijan had been firing from a civilian settlement.

According to an Azeri declaration, RazmInfo says, “two civilians were killed and another one was injured in the village of Alkhanli in the Armenian side’s fire.”

“But the situation of Alkhanli and Google Maps suggest that Azerbaijan's military posts are positioned in the vicinity of the village and even beside civilians’ houses in some places,” RazmInfo says.

Also Wednesday, the Karabakh Defense Army published two videos of Azerbaijan’s fire from the TR-107 rocket engines and the conversation of the rival's troops during the process.

“Pay close attention to the time on the screen. The Armenian side opened retaliatory fire at 08:31pm - after the fire attack launched by the rival several times before,” the Karabakh army said.

“The rivals’ conversations prove that Karabakh’s retaliatory fire targeted the Azerbaijani position. Azerbaijan habitually deploys its posts inside settlements, turning civilians into human shields.”

The OSCE Minsk Group issued a statement of its own, calling upon the sides to cease military action.

"Violence only begets further violence and accomplishes nothing. The only responsible and humane way to resolve this long-standing conflict is for the sides to return to the negotiation table in good faith," the co-chairs said in the statement.

A spokesman for Karabakh Army, Senor Hasratyan later confirmed Azeri media reports that a two-year-old child was killed in the operations and extended condolences to the family of the victim as a personal statement.

Hasratyan said that Azerbaijan’s own rocket engine attack ultimately went on to become the reason for the death of the little girl.

Azerbaijan on April 2, 2016 launched a large-scale military offensive against Karabakh, which claimed the lives of hundreds on both sides, including that of a Karabakh schoolkid. Top Armenian and Azerbaijani defense ministers agreed an agreement on the cessation of hostilities on April 5.

The conflict between Nagorno Karabakh and Azerbaijan

The conflict between Nagorno Karabakh and Azerbaijan broke out as result of the ethnic cleansing launched by the Azeri authorities in the final years of the Soviet Union. The Karabakh War was fought from 1991 (when the Nagorno Karabakh Republic was proclaimed) to 1994 (when a ceasefire was sealed by Armenia, NKR and Azerbaijan). Most of Nagorno Karabakh and a security zone consisting of 7 regions are now under control of NKR defense army. Armenia and Azerbaijan are holding peace talks mediated by the OSCE Minsk Group up till now.

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