According to Azerbaijan, an Armenian air attack on the Barda district killed 21 civilians. Another 70 people were injured.
The Azerbaijani authorities have reported an Armenian air attack on Barda County in which 21 civilians are said to have been killed. At least 70 more people were injured in the attack near the front line to the embattled region of Nagorno-Karabakh, the Attorney General in Baku announced on Wednesday. The Armenian government immediately rejected the information and denied an attack.
According to the Azerbaijani presidential spokesman Hikmet Hadjiev, the Armenian armed forces used Russian Smerch missiles for the attack. Hadjiev also accused Armenia of using internationally outlawed cluster munitions, saying the target was “a particularly large number of civilian casualties. According to the Attorney General, the missiles hit a densely populated area and a shopping district.
On Tuesday, the Azerbaijani authorities reported four civilian deaths from an Armenian missile attack in the Barda district. According to the report, one of the victims was an infant. The government in Yerevan also denied being behind the attack.
More than a hundred civilians killed
At the end of September, the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the controversial Caucasus region of Nagorno-Karabakh flared up again. According to official figures from both conflict parties, more than a thousand people have already been killed since the beginning of the fighting, including more than a hundred civilians. In fact, the number of deaths is likely to be significantly higher. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin had spoken last week of almost 5,000 deaths caused by the fighting.
Attempts by the international community to achieve a lasting ceasefire have always failed. A new ceasefire mediated by Russia, France and the USA failed shortly after it came into force on Monday.
Nagorno-Karabakh had unilaterally declared its independence during the collapse of the Soviet Union. This was followed in the 1990s by a war with 30,000 dead. The self-proclaimed Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh is still not recognized internationally and is considered part of Azerbaijan under international law.
Observers fear that the conflict could escalate into a proxy war between Russia and Turkey in the Caucasus. Turkey is supporting its neighboring country Azerbaijan in the conflict. Russia maintains good relations with both sides, but is considered Armenia’s military protective power.