Azerbaijan said on Tuesday it has begun “anti-terror operations” in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. The Defense Ministry in Baku said the operations targeted Armenian forces. According to an AFP reporter, explosions were heard in Stepanakert, the capital of the region over which the two countries have disputed for decades.
According to Azerbaijani reports, six people had previously been killed in mine explosions. Azerbaijani security forces said two civilians were killed by a mine placed by Armenian “sabotage groups” on a road towards the town of Shusha in the Azerbaijani-controlled part of Nagorno-Karabakh. Four police officers were later killed in another mine explosion on the way to the blast site.
“Restoration of the constitutional order” as the goal
According to its own information, Baku has informed Russia and Turkey, which provide protection forces and observers in the conflict zone, about the “anti-terror operation”. It is an ‘anti-terror operation’ of a local nature to restore constitutional order in the region.
Armenia had recently expressed concern over the heavy deployment of Azerbaijani forces on its borders. On the other hand, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Baku, Azerbaijan once again called the concentration of Armenian troops on the border the biggest threat to the stability of the region.
In 2020, Azerbaijan retook parts of Nagorno-Karabakh
Christian Orthodox Armenia and Muslim Azerbaijan, both former Soviet republics in the South Caucasus, have long been enemies, albeit after a war in the early 1990s over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, which belongs to Azerbaijan but is mainly inhabited by Armenians. Armenia initially had the upper hand. In a second war in 2020, Azerbaijan, which was heavily armed with money from the oil and gas industry, captured and reconquered parts of Nagorno-Karabakh and its own territory. During shorter military actions afterwards, Baku also occupied approximately 150 square kilometers of Armenian territory.
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