Clashes erupted along the Armenian-Azerbaijan border, potentially igniting an ancient conflict



CNN

The decades-old conflict may be on the cusp of a flare-up, as reports emerged this week of attacks along the border between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

The Armenian Defense Ministry claimed that the Azerbaijani armed forces launched artillery shelling on the Armenian border towns on Tuesday morning. According to the Armenian Defense Ministry, the strike involved drones and heavy-caliber firearms in the direction of Goris, Sotek and Jermuk.

The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry responded with a statement acknowledging the strikes, but said the strikes were “small-scale” and “aimed at ensuring the security of Azerbaijan’s borders.”

The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry on Monday accused the Armenian forces of firing small arms in the direction of Novoivanovka settlement in Gadabay district and Hosulu settlement in Lachin district near the border between the two countries. Armenia denied the allegations.

Last month, the two countries clashed over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, a landlocked region between Eastern Europe and Western Asia inhabited and controlled by ethnic Armenians but located in Azerbaijani territory.

The turmoil in the region for decades, dating back to the collapse of the Soviet Union, when the region, with the support of Armenia, declared its independence from Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan has always claimed that it will recover the territories recognized internationally as Azerbaijan.

Russia, a security ally of Armenia, maintains a peacekeeping force in the region after brokering a ceasefire agreement in early November 2020, ending a nearly two-month conflict that has killed at least 6,500 people, according to Reuters.

On Monday evening, the United States issued a call for an “immediate cessation of hostilities,” according to a statement issued by the office of US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.

“The United States is deeply concerned about reports of attacks along the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, including reported strikes against settlements and civilian infrastructure inside Armenia,” Blinken said. As we have long made clear, there can be no military solution to the conflict. We urge an immediate end to any military hostilities.”

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