As it proclaimed the beginning of a “anti-terror” campaign on Tuesday, Azerbaijan launched strikes on the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, raising the possibility of yet another armed conflict in the area.
In an effort to drive away “formations of Armenia’s armed forces,” the nation’s Defense Ministry claimed that it was deploying “high-precision weapons” to “incapacite” forces that were supported by Armenia and target Armenian military locations.
Loud artillery and shelling can be heard in footage allegedly shot in Stepanakert, the capital of Karabakh, which Azerbaijan refers to as Khankendi.
A separatist organization based in Armenia posted a warning on social media, claiming it was a “large-scale military offensive” and that “the capital Stepanakert and other cities and villages are currently under intensive fire.”
Civilians are free to evacuate the area via humanitarian corridors, according to officials in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, who also stressed that “the civilian population and civilian infrastructure are not targets.”
Karabakh, which is acknowledged as being a part of Azerbaijan by the international community but has a majority ethnic Armenian population, has been the source of conflict between the two countries for decades.
Azerbaijan reclaimed territory that had historical significance to Armenians at the conclusion of a deadly 2020 conflict between the two former Soviet foes. Even after the battle came to an end, emotions in the area remained high as the two sides continued to trade accusations and occasionally reported shelling.
The Republic of Armenia has stated that it has no armed forces in Karabakh, and on Tuesday it stated that the “situation on the borders of the Republic of #Armenia is relatively stable.”