Nagorno-Karabakh: Fresh shelling; rivals ‘head to US’ for talks

Nagorno-Karabakh: Fresh shelling; rivals ‘head to US’ for talks

A truce in Nagorno-Karabakh was under severe strain on Tuesday after fresh clashes between Azeri and ethnic Armenian forces, as the rivals extended the deadliest fighting to hit the region since the 1990s.

A second attempt at a truce agreed on Saturday has had little impact on fighting that began on September 27, despite concerns that the fight could erupt into an all-out war involving Russia and Turkey.

Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Defence reported fighting in several areas, including disputed territory close to the line of contact that divides the sides.

Ethnic Armenian officials in Nagorno-Karabakh also reported fresh shelling on Tuesday and said fighting was particularly intense in southern areas of the conflict zone.

Nagorno-Karabakh is a breakaway region inside Azerbaijan, but run by ethnic Armenians who either want to secede or join Armenia.

A mountainous enclave, it lies close to gas and oil pipelines in the South Caucasus that go westward.

In less than one month of fighting, several hundred people have been killed, including dozens of civilians on both sides.

Ethnic Armenian officials say at least 772 troops have died, while Azerbaijan does not disclose its military death toll.

In a tweet on Tuesday, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said his country has made territorial gains.

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