Turkey denies sending Syrian fighters: Nagorno-Karabakh live news

Erdogan rejects claims Turkey transferring fighters from Syria to boost Azeri forces as he criticises Minsk group.

Turkish people walk past a billboard in support of Azerbaijan in its war with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh [Burhan Ozbilici/AP]
  • Turkey rejects accusations of sending Syrian fighters to Nagorno-Karabakh battle
  • Azeri leader warns Armenia against targeting gas pipelines
  • Russian defence minister reiterates calls for truce
  • Red Cross expects thousands will need support in coming months

17:57 GMT – Defence officials in Nagorno-Karabakh say death toll among its military rises to 555

Ethnic Armenian officials in Nagorno-Karabakh said 23 more servicemen had been killed in fighting with Azerbaijan, bringing its total military death toll to 555 since fighting broke out on September 27

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

16:51 GMT -Turkey’s Erdogan, Russia’s Putin discuss Nagorno-Karabakh conflict on phone

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in a phone call that Ankara wanted a permanent solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh issue, a statement from Erdogan’s office said.

The two leaders called for ‘joint efforts’ to end the fighting, the Kremlin said in a statement.

14:45 GMT – Pompeo says US committed to helping achieve lasting solution

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the US remains committed to helping Azerbaijan and Armenia achieve a “peaceful and sustainable settlement to their conflict”.

“We call on both countries to implement agreed upon commitments to cease fire and stop targeting civilian areas,” he said.

13:54 GMT – Turkish arms sales to Azerbaijan surged before Nagorno-Karabakh fighting

Turkey’s military exports to its ally Azerbaijan have risen six-fold this year, with sales of drones and other military equipment rising to $77m last month alone before fighting broke out over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, according to exports data.

The figures compiled by the Turkish Exporters’ Assembly, which groups more than 95,000 exporting companies in 61 sectors, show Azerbaijan bought $123 million in defence and aviation equipment from Turkey in the first nine months of 2020.

Most of the purchases of drones, rocket launchers, ammunition and other weapons arrived were after July.

Sales jumped from $278,880 in the month of July to $36 million in the month of August, and $77.1 million in just September, the data showed. Military sales to Azerbaijan in the first nine months of 2019 totalled $20.7m.

Hello, this is Farah Najjar, taking over from my colleague Usaid Siddiqui.

12:57 GMT – Armenian PM Pashinyan says Azerbaijan aims to completely occupy Nagorno-Karabakh

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said Azerbaijan aimed to occupy the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh completely, and described the situation in the conflict zone as “very difficult”.

Pashinyan said in a speech that Azerbaijan and Turkey did not want “to stop their aggression”.

12:20 GMT – Artsakh army accuses Azerbaijan of violating ‘humanitarian truce’

The Artsakh Defense Army in the Nagorno-Karabakh region said Azerbaijan “continues to violate the humanitarian truce, targeting peaceful settlements”, alleging the Azeri government bombed the city of Martakaret.

“In addition to shelling the city of Martakert, the enemy also employed air force in the northeastern direction,” the group said in a tweet.

11:30 GMT – One killed in shelling by Armenia – Azerbaijan MFA

Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs accused the Armenian government of shelling the town of Tartar of killing one person while injuring 6 others.

It was not clear if any civilians had been killed in the alleged shelling.

10:40 GMT – Erdogan denies sending Syrian fighters to conflict, criticises Minsk group’s efforts

In a speech to lawmakers from his ruling AK Party in Parliament, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey had not sent Syrian fighters to Azerbaijan, as some reports have alleged. He added that Turkey fully backed its Azeri allies.

Erdogan also said the Minsk group was stalling in dealing with the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and repeated that the region should be given back to Azerbaijan.

The OSCE Minsk group is co-chaired by Russia, France and the United States.

09:45 GMT – Russia disagrees with Turkey’s position on conflict

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow disagreed with Turkey’s position on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and that a military solution was unacceptable.

“We do not agree with the position voiced by Turkey, that was also expressed several times by (Azeri) President Aliyev,” Lavrov said in an interview with local radio stations. “It is not a secret that we cannot agree with a statement that a military solution to the conflict is permissible.”

Lavrov added that it would be right to deploy Russian military observers on the line of contact in Nagorno-Karabakh, but that it was up to Azerbaijan and Armenia to decide.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (centre), Azeri Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov (left) and Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan attend a meeting in Moscow, Russia October 9, 2020 [Russian Foreign Ministry/Handout/Reuters]

08:51 GMT – Azeri president warns Armenia against any moves on gas pipelines

Also in the Haberturk interview, Aliyev sent a warning to Armenia over its pipelines.

“Armenia is trying to attack and take control of our pipelines,” Aliyev said. “If Armenia tries to take control of the pipelines there, I can say that the outcome will be severe for them.”

The international community is concerned about the prospect of war because Nagorno-Karabakh serves as a corridor for pipelines taking oil and gas to world markets. Read more about that here.

08:48 GMT – Azeri leader says Turkish F-16 jets in Azerbaijan but not being used

In an interview with Turkish broadcaster Haberturk on Wednesday, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said that Turkish F-16 jets were in Azerbaijan, but that they were not being used in the conflict.

Aliyev also said Ankara, his closest ally, should be involved in talks on the breakaway region and that the conflict cannot be solved without Ankara’s involvement.

A police officer steps over debris in the yard of a destroyed house after shelling in the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region’s main city of Stepanakert [Aris Messinis/AFP]

08:30 GMT -Azerbaijan says it hit missile launch sites in Armenia

Azerbaijan’s defence ministry has claimed it destroyed two missile launch sites in Armenia that were being used to target civilian areas.

Armenia’s defence ministry confirmed that areas inside the country had been targeted, but denied its forces were firing into Azerbaijan.

The ministry said it now “reserves the right to target any military installations and combat movements on the territory of Azerbaijan”.

08:10 GMT – Red Cross says ‘tens of thousands’ will need support in coming months

The International Committee of the Red Cross director for Eurasia has called on Azerbaijan and Armenia to cease hostilities.

“We project that at least tens of thousands of people across the region will need support over the next few months,” Martin Schuepp said in a statement.

“Civilians are dying or suffering life-changing injuries. Homes, businesses and once-busy streets are being reduced to rubble. The elderly and babies are among those forced to spend hours in unheated basements or to leave their homes for safety,”

07:30 GMT – Russian defence minister urges Armenia, Azerbaijan to respect truce

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu appealed to his Armenian and Azerbaijani counterparts by phone to observe a ceasefire in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, the Russian Defence Ministry said.

Good morning. This is Usaid Siddiqui in Doha and Anealla Safdar in London bringing you the latest updates on the Nagorno-Karabakh crisis today, Wednesday, October 14.

Here is a recap:

The latest clashes have spilled into a third week. Dozens of civilians and hundreds of soldiers have been killed, while Armenia and Azerbaijan ignore calls to honour a ceasefire they both agreed to in Russia last week.

On Tuesday, the Red Cross called on both sides to implement the terms agreed in that truce, which included them swapping prisoners and war dead.

You can find all the updates from yesterday, October 13, here.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies