France, Russia and the US called for an unconditional ceasefire between Armenia and Azerbaijan on Monday, after the two neighbouring countries stepped up their conflict in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, France24 reported yesterday, Tuesday.
As co-chairs of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group, the three countries reiterated their calls for ending the hostilities, despite previous calls having fallen on deaf ears. In a joint statement, all three warned that the escalating conflict and attacks against civilian targets were an unacceptable threat to stability in the region.
The Kremlin noted that President Vladimir Putin had discussed the level of casualties with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan when urging an immediate ceasefire.
The Defence Ministry of Azerbaijan announced that Armenian forces had shelled several towns, including the second-largest city Ganja on Sunday. In addition to Ganja the ministry stated that Aghjabedi and the towns of Beylagan, Barda and Tartar had been shelled. Azerbaijan’s presidential adviser Hikmet Hajiyev warned that Armenian forces were attacking densely populated areas.
Separatist forces in Karabakh claimed that Stepanakert, the region’s capital, had come under artillery fire again and reported fighting along the frontline. The separatist foreign ministry, stating that Stepanakert had been under artillery fire since Friday, released footage of heavy shelling, while claiming Azerbaijan had used cluster bombs.
Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad accused his Turkish counterpart President Recep Erdoğan of being the main instigator in the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, Reuters reported on Tuesday. He warned that militants from Syria are being deployed to Nagorno-Karabakh, confirming French President Emmanuel Macron’s earlier accusations that Turkey had sent Syrian jihadists to the conflict zone.
Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, in Azerbaijan on Tuesday, pointed out that international peace efforts had failed to yield results in decades, adding that the situation must change.
While Armenia expressed its readiness to cooperate with the OSCE Minsk Group on peace moves, Azerbaijan is demanding Armenia withdraws from Nagorno-Karabakh and wants Turkey to take part in peace efforts.