Iran Urges Restraint in Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict

Feb 28, 2017, 00:15
Iran Urges Restraint in Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict

"On February 25, units of Azerbaijan's Armed Forces destroyed an unmanned aerial vehicle belonging to Armenia which was trying to conduct reconnaissance overflights above position of Azerbaijan's army towards the village of Talysh (in the area of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict), the ministry's press service said in a statement. And in the end, the scene clearly shows the bodies of Azerbaijani soldiers left in Martuni", Artsrun Hovannisian - Spokesman of the Defense Ministry said.

The clashes were some of the heaviest in the region since fighting a year ago saw about 75 soldiers from both sides killed. "The likelihood of another outbreak of fighting at the level observed in April 2016, or higher, is significant", wrote Carey Cavanaugh, the former United States chair of the Minsk Group that is attempting to resolve the conflict, in an analysis last week.

The Armenian side broke a cease-fire to implement a large-scale provocation on the frontline and to seize advantageous positions in Khojavand and Fuzuli directions, the Azeri Ministry said in a statement released on February 25.

Nagorno-Karabakh is in Azerbaijan, but since a separatist war ended in 1994 it has been under the control of local ethnic Armenian forces and the Armenian military. The Armenian side also claimed a build-up of Azerbaijani armor near the LoC. Later in the evening, Azerbaijani forces claim to have downed an Armenian surveillance drone.

The Armenian army retreated due to some losses among its ranks, whereas no one was killed from the Azerbaijani forces, the statement added.

Artsakh says Azerbaijan is to blame for the failure to recover the bodies.

Azerbaijani soldiers were killed in a ceasefire violation, the country's Defence ministry said without specifying the exact number of casualties.

While the exact objective of the fighting remains unclear, it came on the eve of Azerbaijan's commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Karabakh town of Khojaly, when hundreds of Azerbaijani civilians were killed. Several bodies are in the neutral zone.

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