Armenian and Azerbaijani forces yesterday engaged in new fighting over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region despite pleas from world and regional powers for them to observe a ceasefire agreed last week. More than two weeks of conflict between the Caucasus rivals has left almost 600 dead, including 73 civilians, according to a tally based on partial tolls from both sides. The Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, overwhelmingly populated by Armenians, has been controlled by Armenians since a 1990s war that erupted as the Soviet Union fell. But Baku has never hidden its desire to win back control and no state has ever recognised the independence that was self-declared by Nagorno-Karabakh. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday acknowledged that the ceasefire was not holding and urged both sides to immediately begin implementing it. The European Union and Iran have also called on the parties to properly observe the ceasefire.