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Azerbaijan strikes targets in Nagorno-Karabakh, launches military operation

by Elsa Court September 19, 2023 2:40 PM 1 min read
Azerbaijani servicepeople stand guard at a checkpoint at the Lachin corridor, Nagorno-Karabakh's only land link with Armenia, on Dec. 26, 2022. (TOFIK BABAYEV/AFP via Getty Images)
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Azerbaijan has launched a military operation in Nagorno-Karabakh with the claimed "goal of restoring the constitutional order," the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan announced on Sept. 19.

Azerbaijan has called it "local anti-terrorist measures." Baku also claimed that Yerevan has been attacking Azerbaijan's soldiers and building additional fortifications in the region.

The news comes after Azerbaijan claimed on Sept. 18 that Armenian forces fired on Azerbaijani outposts on the border between the two countries.

There's no evidence backing these claims at this time.

Armenian Defense Ministry said that the claims do not correspond to reality.

In Stepanakert or Khankendi, the de-facto capital of Nagorno-Karabakh, air raid sounded and there are reports of gunfire and explosions.

Attacks on communications infrastructure have led to a lack of internet and telephone connectivity in the territory, Andranik Shirinyan, Armenia Representative to Freedom House, said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Nagorno-Karabakh is recognized as Azerbaijan's territory under international law, but its population of 120,000 is predominantly Armenian.

The territory declared independence in 1991 with Yerevan's military support. Until 2020, Armenia de facto controlled Nagorno-Karabakh together with the surrounding regions.

In 2020, Azerbaijan launched a military operation establishing control over parts of Nagorno Karabakh.

In November 2020, Russia brokered an armistice between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Moscow sent forces to patrol the Lachin corridor, the only road connecting Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia.

In 2022, Yerevan accused Russia of failing its peacekeeping mission when Moscow began withdrawing its troops in 2022 and allowed Azerbaijan blockade Nagorno-Karabakh, preventing basic supplies from reaching the population.

The U.S. and EU have called on Azerbaijan to end the blockade.

In February 2023, he International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled in favor of Yerevan's appeal to lift the blockade Nagorno-Karabakh.

Baku denied imposing a blockade.

Commenting on the issue, Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev said that "Armenians living in the Karabakh must either accept Azerbaijani citizenship or look for another place to live."

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