Armenia, Azerbaijan urged to honour ceasefire deal: Live updates

Rival countries had agreed to exchange prisoners and war dead, but are instead engaged in deadly clashes.

More than 500 people have been killed in since fighting began in late September [AP]
  • Heavy fighting continues on Tuesday as international community appeals for calm
  • More than 500 people have been killed in since fighting began on September 27
  • Red Cross calls on both sides to finalise prisoner and body swap agreements

16:45 GMT – Only change in Turkey’s stance can unlock Nagorno-Karabakh settlement: Armenian PM

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said that he believes only a change in Turkey’s stance on Nagorno-Karabakh could prompt Azerbaijan to halt military action over the tiny region.

“I’m convinced that for as long as Turkey’s position remains unchanged, Azerbaijan will not stop fighting,” Pashinyan told Reuters news agency.

The Armenian leader however gave no indication that he saw any sign of Ankara shifting its position.

14:30 GMT – Video of Azeri, Armenian forces exchanging fire fake

A widely shared video purporting to show Iranians watch as Azeri and Armenian forces exchange rocket fire has been debunked as fake, a timely reminder that not everything posted on social media is to be taken as truth.

12:40 GMT – US Secretary of State urges implementation of ceasefire

United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo call for Armenia and Azerbaijan to implement the agreed-upon ceasefire brokered by Russia last week, and to stop targeting civilian areas.

“We (US) deplore the loss of human life and remain committed to a peaceful settlement,” Pompeo said.

12:23 GMT – Analysis: Nagorno-Karabakh – New weapons for an old conflict spell danger

The new war over Nagorno-Karabakh is a conventional one, being fought by professional armed forces.

But this time, hi-tech 21st-century weaponry has the capacity to make this decades-old conflict more destructive than ever before.

If official battlefield statistics are to be believed, the death toll is staggering. Azerbaijan has yet to confirm the number of its war dead.

Read more here.

A woman waits for her relatives to be rescued as search and rescue teams work on the blast site hit by a rocket during the fighting over the region of Nagorno-Karabakh [Umit Bektas/Reuters]

11:45 GMT – Turkey says ceasefire calls reasonable, but Armenian withdrawal needed

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said international calls for a ceasefire between Azeri and Armenian forces in the Nagorno-Karabakh region were reasonable, but world powers should also urge Armenia to withdraw from Azeri lands.

Speaking at a news conference with his Swedish counterpart Ann Linde in Ankara, Cavusoglu said holding a meeting with all 11 members of the Minsk group – formed to mediate the conflict and led by Russia, the United States and France – would benefit talks on the issue.

11:05 GMT – Drone crashes in Iran, near border with Azerbaijan

A drone has crashed on Iranian soil in the northwestern province of Ardebil in an area close to the border with Azerbaijan.

According to a local official who spoke with state-run IRNA, the unidentified drone crashed on agricultural lands in a village in the county of Parsabad and inflicted no damage.

There is speculation online that the drone could be an Israeli Harop operated by the Azerbaijani army.

10:40 GMT – Red Cross urges Armenia, Azerbaijan to firm up prisoner, body swap

The International Committee of the Red Cross urged Armenia and Azerbaijan to finalise arrangements for it to handle the exchange of detainees and bodies from the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, after a humanitarian ceasefire agreed at the weekend.

“To date we keep discussing intensely with the sides on this topic. But no meaningful agreement has been reached yet that will allow us to actually proceed to such an exchange,” Martin Schuepp, ICRC Eurasia regional director, told a news briefing in Geneva, adding that it was passing proposals “back and forth”.

“So discussions are going on with the sides, and we hope that the conditions will be met in order to actually implement such an operation in the future,” he said, also calling for security guarantees to be provided for ICRC staff.

10:00 GMT – Armenia and Azerbaijan trade accusations of shelling

Heavy fighting was reported in the disputed region Nagorno-Karabakh on Tuesday, despite international appeals to return to an agreed ceasefire.

Armenia and Azerbaijan accused each other of heavy shelling in the landlocked region in the southern Caucuses which they both claim as their territory.

Authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh reported rocket and artillery fire from the Azeri side.

09:40 GMT – Nagorno-Karabakh says 17 more servicemen killed

Ethnic Armenian officials in Nagorno-Karabakh said 17 more servicemen had been killed in fighting with Azerbaijan, bringing its total military death toll to 542 since fighting broke out on September 27, Russia’s Interfax news agency reported.

The fighting has surged to its worst level since the 1990s, when some 30,000 people were killed.

An elderly woman examines the damage to her apartment, damaged by shelling by Azerbaijan’s artillery during a military conflict in Stepanakert, Nagorno-Karabakh [AP]

Hello. This is Usaid Siddiqui in Doha and Anealla Safdar in London bringing you the latest updates on the Nagorno-Karabakh crisis today, Tuesday, October 13.

Here’s a quick recap:

Fighting continues into the third week.

Marathon talks in Moscow between the warring countries led to a ceasefire agreement that went into effect on Saturday. But minutes into the agreed truce, Armenia and Azerbaijan accused one another of breaking the ceasefire.

Brokered by Russia, the deal meant to halt fighting to allow ethnic Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh and Azeris to swap prisoners and war dead under the auspices of the Red Cross.

Russia’s foreign minister in a meeting with his Armenian counterpart on Monday reiterated that both sides should strictly implement the truce.

Tuesday brings reports of further casualties and calls by the Red Cross to respect the ceasefire terms.

You can find all the updates from yesterday, October 12, here.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies