Major cities hit as heavy fighting continues over Nagorno-Karabakh

Major cities hit as heavy fighting continues over Nagorno-Karabakh
Several buildings in Ganja were destroyed, Azerbaijani officials say. Source: AZERBAIJAN'S DEFENCE MINISTRY
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Daily US Times: As heavy clashes continue over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh enclave, Azerbaijan’s second-largest city, Ganja, has been shelled by Armenian forces.

The enclave is officially part of Azerbaijan but run by ethnic Armenians.

The self-proclaimed authorities there said they hit the city’s military airport after Azerbaijani forces shelled the region’s capital, Stepanakert.

Azerbaijan says no Ganja military sites were hit. More than 220 people have died so far since clashes began a week ago.

Azerbaijan and Armenia went to war over Nagorno-Karabakh in 1988-94, eventually declaring a ceasefire. However, the two countries have never reached a settlement over the dispute.

The current fighting is the worst seen since the ceasefire and the two former Soviet republics have been blaming each other. There are fears that the actual death toll of civilians and among the military from all sides could be much higher, as casualty claims have not been independently verified.

Azerbaijan, which is openly backed by Turkey, says its military have retaken control of seven villages since last Sunday, while Nagorno-Karabakh says its troops have “improved” their frontline positions.

Armenia said ewarlier this week that it stood “ready to engage” with mediators from France, Russia and the US to try to agree a ceasefire.

Azerbaijan has demanded the withdrawal of Armenian troops from Nagorno-Karabakh and adjacent areas seized by ethnic Armenian troops.

In a televised address to the nation on Sunday, Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev said: “Nagorno-Karabakh is our land,” as he demanded Armenia apologise to his country and provide a timetable for their withdrawal.

“This is the end. We showed them who we are. We are chasing them like dogs,” he added.

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