Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev vows to avenge blood of martyrs, accuses Armenia of killing civilians.
Fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenia broke out around the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh after Armenia attacked civilian settlements and military positions, Azerbaijan President says.
President Ilham Aliyev in his address to the nation said Armenian armed forces fired on Azerbaijani settlements and military positions from several directions, using various types of weaponry, including heavy artillery.
“As a result of the enemy fire, there are casualties among the civilian population and our servicemen. Some people have been wounded. May Allah rest our martyrs in peace,” he said, without mentioning any specific numbers on casualties.
Aliyev vowed to avenge the blood of martyrs, saying the Azerbaijani army continues retaliation on Armenian military positions, and that many units of its military equipment have been destroyed.
“This is another manifestation of Armenian fascism,” he said.
The Azerbaijani leader added that besides the attacks, Armenia continues its illegal settlements in Azerbaijani territories.
“Azerbaijan defends its lands, Upper Karabakh belongs to Azerbaijan,” Aliyev asserted.
Tensions between the two nations had escalated last month when the Armenian Army violated a ceasefire agreed in 1994, on July 12 and attacked Azerbaijani positions with artillery fire.
France, Russia and the US have mediated peace efforts as the “Minsk Group” but the last big push for a peace deal collapsed in 2010.
Armenia declares martial law
Meanwhile Armenia’s Defence Ministry said its troops downed two Azerbaijani helicopters and three drones in the clashes.
The ministry said the downed helicopter’s crew had survived.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said on Sunday that his country declared martial law and total military mobilisation following clashes.
Turkey condemns the attack
Turkey’s Foreign Ministry released a statement condemning the attack.
“We strongly condemn the Armenian attack in Azerbaijan front line, which caused civilian casualties and was a clear violation of international law,” the ministry said in the statement.
Turkey’s governing AK Party spokesman Omer Celik tweeted: “We vehemently condemn Armenia’s attack on Azerbaijan. Armenia has once against committed a provocation, ignoring law.” He promised Turkey would stand by Azerbaijan and said “Armenia is playing with fire and endangering regional peace”.
Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin also took the Twitter, condemning Armenia. “Armenia has violated the ceasefire by attacking civilian settlements … the international community must immediately say stop to this dangerous provocation.”
Source: TRTWorld and agencies