News World Azerbaijan says Armenian forces shell second city in escalation of week-long conflict

Azerbaijan says Armenian forces shell second city in escalation of week-long conflict

Azerbaijan said on Sunday that Armenian forces had shelled its second city of Ganja in an escalation of the war in the South Caucasus that broke out one week ago.

Armenia denied that it had directed fire “of any kind” towards Azerbaijan, but the leader of Nagorno-Karabakh, an ethnic Armenian enclave inside Azerbaijan, said his forces had destroyed a military airbase in Ganja.

The escalation carries the risk of a full-scale war between the former Soviet republics of Azerbaijan and Armenia that could drag in other powers. Azerbaijan is supported by Turkey, while Armenia has a defence pact with Russia. Fighting that broke out one week ago between Azeri and ethnic Armenian forces has intensified in the past two days and spread way beyond the breakaway Karabakh region.

“Delivering fire on the territory of Azerbaijan from the territory of Armenia is clearly provocative and expands the zone of hostilities,” Azeri Defence Minister Zakir Hasanov said.

Ganja, with a population of 335,000, is about 100 km (60 miles) north of the Karabakh capital Stepanakert and 80 km from the Armenian city of Vardenis. Azerbaijan has previously accused Armenia of firing into its territory from Vardenis, and Yerevan has denied it.

Armenia says Azerbaijan has used the airport in Ganja as a base for its warplanes to carry out bombing raids on Nagorno-Karabakh.

Nagorno-Karabakh leader Arayik Harutyunyan said his forces would target Azeri cities.

“Permanent military units located in the large cities of Azerbaijan from now on become the targets of the defence army,” he said.

HEAVY CASUALTIES

Casualties from the past week’s fighting have run into the hundreds, although precise figures are impossible to obtain.

Armenia said the Karabakh cities of Stepanakert and Martakert were under attack by Azerbaijan’s air force and from long-range missiles.

Each side accused the other of targeting civilians.

Ignoring appeals from Russia, the United States, France and the EU to call a ceasefire, the opposing sides have stepped up hostilities over the weekend, with an accompanying rise in aggressive rhetoric.

Armenia said on Saturday it would use “all necessary means” to protect ethnic Armenians from attack by Azerbaijan, and its prime minster compared the struggle with a 20th century war against Ottoman Turkey.

Azerbaijan said on Saturday its forces had captured a string of villages. Armenia acknowledged that ethnic Armenian fighters were under pressure in some places and said the situation on the ground was fluctuating.

The clashes are the worst since the 1990s, when some 30,000 people were killed. They have raised international concern about stability in the South Caucasus, where pipelines carry Azeri oil and gas to world markets.

(Reuters)

Pictured: A shop is seen on fire following recent shelling during a military conflict over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh in Stepanakert October 3, 2020. Gor Kroyan/REUTERS 

Top Stories

Set your clocks-go back an hour tomorrow for the winter time

  Clocks go back an hour tomorrow for the winter time, though it still doesn't really feel like winter, mostly weather wise. At four tomorrow morning,...

Dozens of Covid charges as authorities intensify checks

  Police charged 34 individuals and 7 people with various offences connected to violations of relevant decrees against the spread of the coronavirus over the...

Europe braces for lengthy battle with Covid, as winter looms

  Europe faces a lengthy battle against the coronavirus at least until mid-2021, France warned, as anxious governments introduced even more restrictions to curb the...

Turkey continues provocations with a series of Navtex

  Turkey continued raising the ante in the Eastern Mediterranean, by issuing a series of illegal maritime advisories for the region. The first two NAVTEX are...

Temperatures on the up, 35 today as dust remains

  A warm air current is still affecting the region, with thin dust persisting in the atmosphere and not clearing before Monday. Clear skies initially today...

Taste

Squash soup

Ingredients: 1 kg pumpkin, cut into small cubes, approximately 5 cups 2 medium (400g) sweet potatoes, cut into cubes, approximately 2 ½ cups 1 chopped leek, only...

Mezedes

No visit to Cyprus is complete without enjoying the traditional meal of many small dishes known as ‘meze’. This large feast, which has been a...

Prawns with fried cheese, barley shaped pasta

Put the barley shaped pasta into a small pan with salted water, bring to a boil and when tender, drain. Peal the prawns leaving...

Salmon and shrimp sheftalies

Mix all ingredients for tabbouli in a bowl and keep to one side so flavours can combine. Prepare the sheftalies: wash and soak the casing...