Rivals vow to keep fighting | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 01, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:41 AM, October 01, 2020

ARMENIA-AZERBAIJAN DISPUTE

Rivals vow to keep fighting

Death toll surpasses 100

Armenia and Azerbaijan vowed to keep fighting and rejected international calls for negotiations yesterday as clashes over the disputed Nagorny Karabakh region raged for a fourth day.

Armenian and Azerbaijani forces are engaged in the heaviest fighting in years over Karabakh, an ethnic Armenian province that broke away from Azerbaijan in the 1990s during the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The long-simmering conflict erupted on Sunday with the two sides trading heavy fire and blaming each other for the outbreak of violence.

The confirmed death toll surpassed 100 people including civilians yesterday and both sides are claiming to have inflicted heavy losses on opposing forces.

In the Armenian capital Yerevan, dozens of men -- some already wearing military fatigues -- lined up outside a recruitment office to join the fight.

Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev promised his military would keep fighting until Armenian troops withdraw fully from Karabakh. 

If "the Armenian government fulfils the demand, fighting and bloodshed will end, and peace will be established in the region," he said during a visit with wounded soldiers.

Baku and Yerevan have ignored mounting international pressure for a ceasefire, as fears grow that the conflict could escalate into all-out war and draw in regional powers like Turkey and Russia.

The Armenian defence ministry yesterday accused Turkish aircraft of performing "provocative flights" along their shared border and of violating Armenia's airspace, a day after Yerevan said a Turkish jet had downed one of its warplanes.

Moscow, which has a military pact with Armenia but also good ties with Azerbaijan, has repeatedly called for an end to the fighting and offered to help with negotiations.

But Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said talks with Azerbaijan were not yet on the table.

"It isn't very appropriate to speak of a summit between Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia at a time of intensive hostilities," Pashinyan said.

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