At least 13 people have been killed including two children and 52 more wounded in the Armenian attack on Azerbaijan’s second-largest city, Ganja.
The United Nations has condemned the merciless attack on civilians by Armenia on Azerbaijan.
The UN said, “parties should protect civilians and civilian infrastructure under international humanitarian law. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres remains very deeply concerned about the ongoing hostilities and their impact on the populations.”
Guterres’ spokesman Farhan Haq spoke to Anadolu Agency on Saturday and added, “We reiterate our strong condemnation of any targeting and attacks against civilian populated areas anywhere.”
The UN statement comes after Armenian armed forces launched a missile attack on Azerbaijan’s second-largest city Ganja and Mingacevir.
At least 13 people have been killed including three children and 52 more wounded in the attack, said Azerbaijan’s general prosecutor office early on Saturday.
The missile strikes late on Friday hit busy areas in and around the city centre of Ganja, which is about 60 kilometres away from the Nagorno-Karabakh frontline.
Many civilians have been reported buried under the rubble of buildings destroyed by the strikes.
At least 20 buildings have been destroyed in Armenia’s missile attacks, said Azerbaijan’s presidential aide Hikmet Hajiyev in a tweet.
UPDATE: 13 killed, including 3 kids among the killed civilians, 52 wounded as a result of #Armenia’s missile #attack on #Ganjacity. Search and rescue operations continue. #StopArmenianAggression#StopAttackingCivilians#GanjaStrong#PrayForGanjaCity pic.twitter.com/r042jsVnww
— MFA Azerbaijan 🇦🇿 (@AzerbaijanMFA) October 17, 2020
One of the Armenian missiles fell near a school in Ganja city. Another missile targeted a multi-storey residential apartment which was completely destroyed.
Search and rescue teams continued to carry out their work through the night. Volunteers also helped the rescue effort.
“Civilians are continued to be saved from the debris of destruction by emergency services,” Hajiyev said.
Innocent civilians in the second biggest city of Azerbaijan are under the indiscriminate and targeted missile attack of Armenia. Unscrupulous calls for humanitarian ceasefire should see these war crimes of #Armenia. According to initial info more than 20 houses destroyed. pic.twitter.com/fznh82kqur
— Hikmet Hajiyev (@HikmetHajiyev) October 16, 2020
Attack in Mingacevir
A hydroelectric power plant in Mingacevir was targeted by the Armenian forces after midnight, Azerbaijan’s public prosecutor’s office said.
But, the missiles were intercepted and destroyed by the Azerbaijani air defence forces, the office added.
According to ANAMA missiles fired to Ganja is SCUD/Elbrus Operative-Tactical Ballistic Missile. Fragments from the impact zone prove it. Targeting SCUD missile against densely populated civilians shows complete immorality and schizophrenic mindset of Armenia's pol-mil leaders pic.twitter.com/zXGbKmyvzS
— Hikmet Hajiyev (@HikmetHajiyev) October 16, 2020
Turkey condemns attacks
Turkey’s Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin condemned Armenia’s “indiscriminate” attacks on Azerbaijan residential areas.
“Armenia continues to commit war crimes even under a declared ceasefire. As in Khojali, it kills women, children, the elderly and civilians indiscriminately. Armenia will pay for these unlawful acts and murders. Turkey stands with Azerbaijan to the very end,” Kalin said in a tweet.
In a separate statement, Turkey’s Vice President Fuat Oktay criticised the international organisations and other countries for remaining silent over Armenia’s missile attacks, targeting Azerbaijan residential areas and killing civilians.
“War criminal, terrorist and occupying state of Armenia has indiscriminately targeted innocent civilians and showed its dirty face again,” Oktay said in a tweet.
“It is noteworthy that other countries and international organisations have a say on every issue but remain silent over Armenia’s invasion and killing of civilians. No crime against humanity will go unpunished.”
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu also condemned Armenia’s missile attack.
“I strongly condemn the actions of Armenia, which has committed war crime and crime against humanity by its attacks on the cities of Ganja and Mingacevir in Azerbaijan. I express my good wishes to the brotherly Azerbaijani people and once again I repeat that we stand by them in their just cause,” Kilicdaroglu tweeted.
Recent clashes erupted between the two countries on September 27, and since then, Armenia has continued its attacks on civilians and Azerbaijani forces.
Relations between the two former Soviet republics have been tense since 1991 when the Armenian military occupied Upper Karabakh, or Nagorno-Karabakh, an internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan.
The OSCE Minsk Group – co-chaired by France, Russia, and the US – was formed in 1992 to find a peaceful solution to the conflict, but to no avail. A ceasefire, however, was agreed to in 1994. Multiple UN resolutions, as well as international organisations, demand the withdrawal of the occupying forces.
World powers, including Russia, France, and the US, have urged a new ceasefire. Turkey, meanwhile, has supported Baku’s right to self-defence and demanded the withdrawal of Armenia’s occupying forces.
About 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s territory has remained under illegal Armenian occupation for nearly three decades.