Red Cross: Civilian casualties in conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan

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The violence flared up between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region also resulted in civilian casualties on Sunday. This is what the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) states. The government of the non-internationally recognized Nagorno-Karabakh region says that violence by Azerbaijani forces killed at least 16 soldiers and injured hundreds more.

‘Seven villages recaptured’

The Azerbaijanis state that at least five people were killed in bombings by the Armenian side. The victims would all have been part of the same family.

Both the authorities in Baku (Azerbaijan) and Yerevan (Armenia) confirm that there are more civilian casualties, without giving concrete numbers.

The Red Cross calls on the parties involved to protect the population and infrastructure. The ICRC is independent and monitors compliance with human rights in conflict areas. Red Cross staff have been present in Nagorno-Karabakh since the beginning of the conflict in the 1990s.

The Armenian Ministry of Defense declared martial law to the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh (photo: ANP).

Azerbaijan and Armenia fight more often over the breakaway region. Still, Sunday’s escalation appears to be the biggest since 2016, when a shooting incident led to a bloody four-day war. The Minsk group, led by Russia, France and the United States, of the United Nations then mediated in adhering to the agreed ceasefire.

Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan have now declared a state of emergency. The male population has been mobilized in Armenia and Azerbaijan has also put its troops on high alert.

Azerbaijan claims to have recaptured seven villages in Nagorno-Karabakh on Sunday. These are said to be areas in the regions of Füsuli and Jabrayil. This happened during a military operation to “free the area from Armenian occupation,” Defense Minister Zakir Hasanov told Azerbaijani media in Baku.

Armenia in turn says it has destroyed 20 drones, three helicopters and 30 tanks from Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev spoke to the country on Sunday about the flaring violence in the region (photo: ANP).

Nagorno-Karabakh is officially part of Islamic Azerbaijan. After a major conflict over the region’s independence in the early 1990s, Azerbaijan lost control. Mainly Christian Armenians live in Nagorno-Karabach. The Armenian government has a lot of influence in the area.

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