Fresh clashes at Azerbaijan-Armenia border after brief respite
BAKU: Officials in Baku and Yerevan confirmed shelling with large-calibre weapons and said fighting was ongoing near the border in the Tavush region.
Border clashes between arch-foes Azerbaijan and Armenia have resumed after a brief de-escalation in fighting.
Azerbaijan’s Defence Ministry said early on Thursday clashes were ongoing near the border after “Armenians shelled Azerbaijani villages with large-calibre weapons” and Armenia’s defence ministry said Azerbaijani forces were “shelling Armenian villages with mortars and howitzers”.
Defence officials a day earlier said fighting had subsided in the Tavush region after several days of deadly clashes.
At least 16 people on both sides were killed in three days of shelling that started on Sunday between the ex-Soviet republics.
The fighting had prompted calls for an immediate ceasefire from the United States, European Union and regional power broker Russia.
Internationally mediated peace talks between the two Caucasus nations have so far failed to bring about a solution to the territorial dispute.
Locked in conflict
The two neighbours in the South Caucasus have been locked in conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, a region of Azerbaijan that has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia, who declared independence during a conflict that broke out as the Soviet Union crumbled in 1991. International efforts to settle the conflict have stalled.
The latest clashes occurred some 300 kilometres from the mountainous enclave.
Though a ceasefire was agreed upon in 1994, Azerbaijan and Armenia continue to accuse each other of shooting attacks around Nagorno-Karabakh and along the separate Azeri-Armenian frontier.
Armenian and Azerbaijani forces have frequently engaged in clashes. In 2016, scores were killed in four days of fighting.