Azerbaijan Launches New ‘Anti-Terror’ Offensive in Nagorno Karabakh
TEHRAN (FNA)- Azerbaijan launched what it called “anti-terrorist activities” in the breakaway region of Nagorno Karabakh, its defence minister said, stressing that the offensive would only target military structures.
“Anti-terrorist activities of a local nature have began in the region in order to ensure and restore the constitutional structure of the Republic of Azerbaijan,” read a defence ministry statement published on Tuesday, Al-Jazeera reported.
“As part of the measures, positions on the front line and deep, long-term firing points of units of Armenia’s armed forces, as well as combat assets and military facilities, are being incapacitated with high-precision weapons,” it added.
An AFP reporter said explosions were heard in the region’s de-facto capital, known as Stepanakert to Armenians and Khankendi in Azerbaijani.
The statement came a few hours after the country’s ministry of foreign affairs said that at least six people died, in two different accidents, in the Azeri’s Khojavad district allegedly due to landmines installed by Armenia’s security forces.
The region has long been at the centre of tensions between Azerbaijan and Armenia, leading to two wars for its control. As of today, the region is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan but it is largely populated by ethnic Armenians.
The last large-scale conflict broke out in 2020 and lasted for six weeks before a Russian-brokered truce. The ceasefire saw Armenia cede swathes of territory it had controlled since the 1990s.
The two sides have since been unable to reach a lasting peace settlement despite mediation efforts by the European Union, United States and Russia.
Armenia has accused Azerbaijan of causing a months-long humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh after Baku last year blocked the sole road linking the mountainous region with Armenia. It is called the Lachin corridor, and Russian peacekeepers police it.
On Monday, trucks loaded with humanitarian aid entered Nagorno-Karabakh after Armenian separatists and the central government agreed to use roads linking it to Armenia and Azerbaijan, according to Baku.