Azerbaijan and Armenia are on the verge of war after the latest border clashes between the two traditional rivals in the Caucasus region.
There were reports of civilian and military casualties on Sunday in clashes between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces, according to AFP, one child has been confirmed dead.
The worst clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia since 2016 have led to the possibility of a major war in the region.
The two countries claim ownership of Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed border area.
In a televised address to the nation on Sunday after the latest clash, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev vowed to defeat the Armenian army.
“Our goal is the victory of justice and we will win this (war),” Aliyev said, adding that the Azerbaijani army was fighting for its territory.
On the other hand, according to the news agency Reuters, the administrations of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh region have ordered the mobilization of troops by enforcing martial law in the region.
In a statement on social media, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pishinyan said, “At the decision of the Government, martial law and general mobilization is being declared in the Republic of Armenia. I call on the personnel attached to the troops to present themselves to their district commissariats.”
“For the fatherland, for victory,” he said.
At the decision of the Government, martial law and general mobilization is being declared in the Republic of #Armenia. I call on the personnel attached to the troops to present themselves to their district commissariats.
For the fatherland, for victory.
— Nikol Pashinyan (@NikolPashinyan) September 27, 2020
Armenia claimed on Sunday that Azerbaijan had attacked the region’s civilian population and settlements, killing a woman and a child.
Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry says it has retaliated using tanks, artillery, missiles, airpower and drones to stop Armenia’s war activities and ensure the safety of its population.
A spokesman for Azerbaijan’s presidential palace said there were reports of civilians and military personnel being killed and injured in the clashes.
Krabach’s ombudsman has also claimed “civilian casualties” in the region.
Background of the Conflict
Ethnic Armenian separatists occupied the Baku region in a 1990 war, according to AFP. 30,000 people were killed in this war.
The dispute between the two rivals is one of the worst since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, and negotiations to resolve it have been largely suspended since the 1994 ceasefire agreement.
France, Russia and the United States have repeatedly mediated between the two rivals in peace efforts, but the last major effort for a peace deal ended in 2010.
Following the latest tensions, there are calls from around the world for the two countries to avoid war.
Russia and France have called for an immediate ceasefire.
“We urge the parties to immediately start a ceasefire and start talks to stabilize the situation,” the Moscow Foreign Ministry said.
Azerbaijan’s ally Turkey has blamed Armenia for the recent tensions and assured Baku of its “full support”.
Turkey strongly condemns Armenia’s attack on Azerbaijan. Armenia has violated the ceasefire by attacking civilian areas.
A spokesman for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Twitter, “The Turkish nation stands by its Azerbaijani brothers and sisters with all its means.”
— Turkish Presidency (@trpresidency) September 27, 2020
Clashes on the disputed border between the two countries, located between the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea, have been going on since July.
Azerbaijan has admitted that one civilian and 11 soldiers were killed in three days of fighting, while Armenia says four of its soldiers were killed.
These South Caucasus neighbours have been fighting each other for years over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. The area has been under Armenian military control since the end of the 1994 war, which Azerbaijan also claims. International efforts to resolve this years-old dispute have stalled.
Clashes between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces often continue in the region.
The current conflict is the deadliest since 2016.
A similar clash in July this year killed 15 people on both sides of the disputed border between the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea.