Death Toll Rises in Nagorno-Karabakh

Azerbaijan and Armenia accuse each other of attacking civilian areas

Heavy fighting continues in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh between Armenian forces and Azerbaijan as both sides accuse one another of attacking civilian areas.

On Monday, Armenian military officials accused Azerbaijan of shelling Stepanakert, the capital of Nagorno-Karabakh. Azeri officials accused Armenia of attacking several towns on Monday, including two major cities, Ganja and Mingachevir, which were first hit on Sunday.

Around 250 people have been reported killed in the fighting, but the real number is expected to be much higher since Azerbaijan has not disclosed its military casualties.

Officials in Nagorno-Karabakh reported 21 more military deaths on Monday, bringing the total dead ethnic Armenian soldiers to 223 since the clashes broke out on September 27th. Azerbaijan said 25 civilians have been killed on its side, and Armenia has reported two dead civilians.

The fighting shows no sign of slowing down, and Azerbaijan is calling for all Armenian forces to withdraw from its territory. Nagorno-Karabakh is technically within the internationally recognized borders of Azerbaijan.

The dispute turned violent with the collapse of the Soviet Union, and tens of thousands were killed during clashes in the early 1990s. Since a ceasefire was declared in 1994, Nagorno-Karabakh has operated as a de facto independent state with Armenian support.

“Nagorno-Karabakh is our land. We have to go back there, and we are doing it now,” Azeri President Ilham Aliyev said in a fiery speech on Sunday. “This is the end. We showed them who we are. We are chasing them like dogs.”

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the assistant news editor of Antiwar.com, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.