By Ayya Lmahamad
Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Ceyhun Bayramov has said that Armenia is purposefully targeting civilians in the clashes that started on September 27 after Armenia’s attack on the line of contact.
Bayamov made the remarks during the phone conversation with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on September 30.
The minister said that Armenia is indiscriminately shelling civilians, grossly violating fundamental norms and principles of international law, including international humanitarian law by purposefully targeting the Azerbaijani civilians and civil objects.
Bayramov stressed that Armenia is the main cause of tension in the region and that the Azerbaijani Armed Forces have been carrying out counter-attacks along the line of contact within the framework of its right to self-defense and to protect the civilian population, in response to a new act of aggression of Armenia.
Sergey Lavrov expressed concern over tensions in the region and stressed the importance of achieving a ceasefire. He proposed Russia’s mediation efforts both in its national capacity and together with the other Minsk Group co-chairs, to reduce tension between the parties.
It should be noted that sixteen civilians have been killed and 58 others have been injured since the outbreak of large-scale hostilities on September 27, after Armenia launched another attack along the line of contact. Among the civilians are three children.
As a result of the shelling of civilian infrastructure facilities by the occupying country's armed forces, 163 houses, as well as 36 civilian facilities were severely damaged. Vehicles belonging to civilians became unserviceable, and numerous small and large horned animals and haystacks were destroyed as well.
Armenian armed forces launched a large-scale operation in the front-line zone on September 27 at 6 am, shelling the positions of the Azerbaijani army from large-calibre weapons, mortars, and artillery installations of various calibres.
Azerbaijan launched a counter-offensive operation along the entire front to suppress the combat activity of the Armenian armed forces and ensure the safety of the civilian population. Azerbaijan liberated Garakhanbeyli, Garvend, Kend Horadiz, Yukhari Abdulrahmanli villages of Fizuli district, Boyuk Marjanli, and Nuzgar villages of Jabrayil district as well as strategically-important Murov height and destroyed the positions of the Armenian armed forces in the direction of the Agdere district and Murovdag.
Azerbaijan and Armenia are locked in a conflict over Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh breakaway region, which along with seven adjacent regions was occupied by Armenian forces in a war in the early 1990s. More than 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed and around one million were displaced as a result of the large-scale hostilities.
The OSCE Minsk Group co-chaired by the United States, Russia and France has been mediating the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict since the signing of the volatile cease-fire agreement in 1994. The Minsk Group’s efforts have resulted in no progress and to this date, Armenia has failed to abide by the UN Security Council resolutions (822, 853, 874 and 884) that demand the withdrawal of Armenian military forces from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan.
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