Civilians on both sides have been caught in the deadliest fighting in the South Caucasus region for more than 25 years.
Residents of Nagorno-Karabakh’s capital of Stepanakert, which came under shelling last week have told the AP news agency that they have not felt the truce agreed upon in Moscow.
“We do not feel the ceasefire at all. We do not get out from here to our flats,” said Larisa Azeryan, who has been staying in a shelter in the basement of an apartment building.
“We all stay here, we eat here, sleep here. The whole day is spent here in the basement.”
Briefing reporters in New York, Stephane Dujarric, spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the UN is “very disappointed to receive reports of ceasefire violations” and considers them “unacceptable”.
Dujarric also called on all parties to fulfil their agreements to a ceasefire announced in Moscow.
“We also share the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ alarm at the suffering of civilians,” Dujarric said.
Fresh push for peace as Nagorno-Karabakh truce fails
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has urged the EU to take a “consistent stance” on Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity, according to a statement by Turkey’s communications directorate.
In a phone call with Charles Michel, head of the European Council, Erdogan said that Armenia had endangered Europe’s energy supplies by attacking the Azerbaijani city of Ganja along with the Tovuz region, where natural gas and oil pipelines and transportation lines are located.
Russia has called on Armenia and Azerbaijan to adhere to the agreed ceasefire.
“We hope that both sides will strictly implement the decisions,” Lavrov said after a meeting with Armenian Foreign Minister Mnatsakanyan, news agency Interfax reported.
Lavrov said a ceasefire “does not mean that all problems will be solved quickly and simultaneously,” adding that it was a process.
Lavrov added that Turkey supported this decision and that Russia’s and Turkey’s defence ministers had discussed the situation.
Ethnic Armenian officials in Nagorno-Karabakh have said that 45 more servicemen had been killed in fighting with Azerbaijan, bringing its total military death toll to 525 since fighting broke out on September 27.
The death toll of an Armenian missile attack on Azerbaijan’s second-largest city of Ganja has reached 10, local authorities have announced.
Azerbaijan’s Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement that one more civilian has succumbed to their wounds.
“We deeply regret to inform that on October 12th, one of the wounded, Aliyeva Gunay Zahid, born in 1992, died at the hospital where she was receiving treatment. At present, other wounded civilians are receiving in-patient treatment,” the written statement said.
Armenian Defense Ministry spokeswoman Shushan Stepanian has said Azerbaijani forces were “intensively shelling the southern front” of the conflict zone on Monday morning.
Nagorno-Karabakh officials said Azerbaijan directed a “large number of forces” to the area of Hadrut, a town in the south of the region, and reported “large-scale hostilities” there.
Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry called those accusations “disinformation” and insisted that Azerbaijan was observing the ceasefire.
The ministry, in turn, accused Armenian forces of shelling the Goranboy, Terter and Agdam regions of Azerbaijan that lie around Nagorno-Karabakh.
Nagorno-Karabakh conflict: Shelling, suffering and propaganda | The Listening Post
Armenia will be held responsible for its undeterred attacks, Turkey’s defence chief has said.
“Sadly, they have attacked the city of Ganja and many other residential areas. This is a clear violation of the ceasefire,” Defence Minister Hulusi Akar, said while attending the opening ceremony for the school year at the National Defence University.
“However, they carry on their attacks undeterred. One day they will be held responsible before history and international law for all this,” Akar said in the capital Ankara alongside the top brass of the Turkish Armed Forces.
Al Jazeera’s Bernard Smith reporting from Goris, Armenia said that Lavrov has said that Russia’s contacts including with the ministries of defence of both sides will allow them to uphold the agreement they have.
“Lavrov is clearly confident that he’s able to exert enough pressure on Azerbaijan and Armenia to try and fully enforce this ceasefire,” Smith said.
During the meeting in Moscow with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, Armenia’s foreign minister, has accused Azerbaijan of acting to expand Turkey’s influence in the region and of using pro-Turkish mercenaries – charges Ankara denies.
Accusing Azerbaijan of ceasefire violations, Mnatsakanyan said: “We want the ceasefire, we want verification mechanisms on the ground, which will indicate the perpetrator, which will demonstrate the party, which is not faithful to this ceasefire.”
Azerbaijan’s president Ilham Aliyev has called for Turkey to be included in the process to resolve the ongoing conflict.
In an interview with Haber Global TV, Aliyev argued that some members of the Minsk Group under the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) were geographically too far away from the region and that the influence of the Armenian diaspora in the group’s co-chairs – namely Russia, the US and France – was not fair.
Noting that Turkey was already a member of the Minsk Group and stood as an independent country capable of contributing to conflict-resolution, he cited Ankara’s role in Syria and Libya as proof that Ankara could better contribute to resolving the issue if it became a co-chair of the Minsk Group.
Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan has met with Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Moscow for talks on a ceasefire deal.
Lavrov emphasised the need to develop verification mechanisms to ensure the ceasefire is not violated.
He added that Russia was working with the two other co-chairs of the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) Minsk group – France and the US – on developing the mechanisms, together with the International Red Cross.
Nagorno-Karabakh truce crumbling as warring sides allege attacks
Ethnic Armenian officials in Nagorno-Karabakh have said that 51 more servicemen have been killed in fighting with Azerbaijan, bringing its total military death toll to 480 since fighting broke out on September 27.
At least 25 civilians were killed and more than 100 wounded.
Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar has told Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu in a phone call that Armenian forces must immediately be removed from Azeri lands they occupy and halt attacks on civilians, Turkey’s ministry has said.
Azerbaijan would not wait another 30 years for a solution to the conflict and Turkey supported the Azeri offensive to “retake its occupied lands,” the defence ministry said in a statement after the call.
This is Mersiha Gadzo in Toronto taking over the live updates from my colleagues Anealla Safdar and Usaid Siddiqui.
We’ve just published a roundup of the human cost of the fighting. At least dozens of civilians and hundreds of soldiers have been killed.
It is difficult to independently verify reports of death tolls. While Armenia releases its military toll, Azerbaijan does not. In any case, the actual number of fatalities is believed to be higher than what has been reported so far.
Meanwhile, tens of thousands have been displaced.
This Twitter thread from Zaur Shiriyev, an analyst for South Caucasus at Crisis Group, lays out some ideas as to how the current clashes started:
1/36. Over the last 12 days, the war between Azerbaijan and Armenia has been ongoing. For those of us in the region it was clear that it was coming.
— Zaur Shiriyev (@ZaurShiriyev) October 9, 2020
Al Jazeera’s Sinem Koseoglu and Bernard Smith are reporting from Azerbaijan and Armenia: @sinemkoseoglu
While Robin Forestier-Whitaker, who has extensively covered the conflict over the years, regularly tweets news and analysis of the current clashes: @robinfwalker
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said no changes were envisaged to the format for peace talks over Nagorno-Karabakh after Azerbaijan proposed that its ally Turkey should be involved.
Lavrov was speaking to reporters in Moscow after talks with Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan.
Mnatsakanyan said that effective peace talks over the disputed region would only be possible after a full ceasefire between Azeri and ethnic Armenian forces.
A video is making the rounds on social media alleging evidence of Syrian fighters in Nagorno-Karabkah region. Al Jazeera was unable to verify the footage, which comes amid growing reports that Turkey is facilitating the transfer of Syrian rebel fighters to battle alongside Azeri forces in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Both Baku and Ankara have so far denied these allegations.
Standing next to an Armenian sign & saying “Armenians..Liberation..Allahu Akbar…Iran” pic.twitter.com/TzSTdQw9bc
— Joyce Karam (@Joyce_Karam) October 11, 2020
Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev said he did not know when talks with Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute would start, but believes Turkey should be involved in the solution process, as pressure mounted on a fragile ceasefire between the warring sides.
Azeri and Armenian forces accused each other of launching new attacks in and around Nagorno-Karabakh, days after a humanitarian ceasefire intended to stop the heaviest fighting over the enclave for more than 25 years.
Aliyev said the Minsk group, formed to mediate the conflict and led by France, Russia and the United States, was biased, and that Turkey, which he described as a global power due to its involvment Syria, Libya and other international conflicts, must be involved in the solution process.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday he is confident the country’s contacts with Armenia and Azerbaijan will help to uphold the ceasefire.
“We reached an important agreement (last Saturday), initiated by President Putin, but we see that this agreement is not being fully complied with and the fighting is continuing,” Lavrov said in a meeting with the Armenian foreign minister in Moscow.
“We expect that our contacts with you and our Azerbaijani neighbors, including by our defense ministries, will ensure full compliance with the agreements that were reached in a trilateral format.”
A tweet from Al Jazeera’s Sinem Koseoglu, currently reporting from Azerbaijan, shows the human cost of weeks-long fighting.
A farewell to #Anar and #Nurchin… A couple who died together under the rubbles as a #TOCHKA-U missile fired by #Armenianforces hit #Azerbaijan’s 2nd largest city, #Ganja last night. pic.twitter.com/74JWdutFuu
— Sinem Köseoğlu (@sinemkoseoglu) October 12, 2020
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday that it was extremely important for ethnic Armenian and Azeri forces to respect a ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh that was brokered by Russia at the weekend.
Since coming into force on Saturday, the truce has frayed, with both sides accusing each other of grave violations and attacks against civilians.
Peskov said the Kremlin was monitoring events on the ground closely.
500 people have been reported killed since then.
Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, Armenia’s foreign minister, was due to hold talks in Moscow later on Monday with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov.
Civilian areas including homes and shops were hit on Sunday in the Azerbaijan city of Ganja, the BBC reported on Sunday. At least nine civilians were reportedly killed.
We saw no sign of any military targets in the area that was hit just civilian homes and shops. #Ganja is the second largest city in #Azerbaijan. The frontline line with #NagornoKarabakh is about 60kms away. pic.twitter.com/JrLptaTqkX
— Orla Guerin (@OrlaGuerin) October 11, 2020
Air raid sirens were heard in the city of Stepanakert, Neil Hauer a non-resident fellow at the Middle East Institute posted on Twitter.
The heaviest battles continued to take place in the town of Hadrut, Hauer reported, a city which Azerbaijan say it liberated last week. Armenian authorities have rejected the claims.
Air raid sirens in Stepanakert
— Neil Hauer (@NeilPHauer) October 12, 2020
Fighting reported in numerous sectors of Karabakh frontline. Hadrut continues to witness the heaviest battles as Azerbaijani forces attempt to advance on the town.
— Neil Hauer (@NeilPHauer) October 12, 2020
Armenian and Azerbaijani forces were engaged in new clashes overnight and Monday morning, AFP news agency correspondents said, as the two sides accused each other of violating a Russian-brokered ceasefire over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
An AFP correspondent in the Azerbaijani town of Barda not far from the front line heard the thumping echoes of shelling Monday morning.
In Nagorno-Karabakh’s main city of Stepanakert, an AFP photographer heard the sounds of shelling from the direction of the town of Hadrut.
Good morning. This is Usaid Siddiqui in Doha and Anealla Safdar in London bringing you the latest updates on the Nagorno-Karabakh crisis today, Monday, October 12. Here’s a quick recap:
After almost two weeks of clashes, marathon talks in Moscow between the warring countries led to a ceasefire agreement that went into effect on Saturday.
Minutes into the agreed truce, however, Armenia and Azerbaijan accused one another of breaking the ceasefire.
Once again, there are minimal hopes for peace being achieved any time soon.
The Russian-brokered ceasefire was meant to halt fighting to allow ethnic Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh and Azeri forces to swap prisoners and war dead under the auspices of the Red Cross.
You can find out more about developments since the truce here.
Looking ahead to Monday, there are more diplomatic efforts to end the crisis, in which at least hundreds have been killed.
Armenia’s foreign minister is due in Moscow on Monday for talks with officials from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) Minsk group led by France, Russia and the United States.
More on that later…