YERVAN / BAKU: As the most violent conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenian ethnic forces has caused international tensions since the mid-1990s, NATO allies France and Turkey issued an angry condemnation on Wednesday.
On the fourth day of the battle, Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh, an ethnic Armenian community, accused each other, and they shelled along the line of contact that divided each other.
According to reports, since Sunday, dozens of people have been killed and hundreds injured in the fighting. The fighting has spread beyond the borders of the enclave and may spread to the all-out war between Azerbaijan and Armenia, the former Soviet Republic.
The small-scale conflict has raised concerns about the stability of the South Caucasus, which is a pipeline corridor for oil and natural gas to the world market, and raised concerns that Russia and Turkey may attract regional powers.
Some of Turkey’s NATO allies are increasingly shocked by Ankara’s stance on Nagorno-Karabakh. Nagorno-Karabakh is a close ally of Turkey’s seceded area within Azerbaijan. The area is managed by Armenians, but Not regarded as an independent republic by any country.
In response to President Tayyip Erdogan’s speech, Foreign Secretary Mevrut Cavusoglu said that when asked whether Azerbaijan asked for military support from Ankara, Turkey would “do what is necessary”.
Cavusoglu also stated that France’s solidarity with Armenia is sufficient to support the Armenians’ occupation of Azerbaijan.
French President Emmanuel Macron, whose country is home to many people of Armenian ancestry, hit back during a visit to Latvia. He said France was extremely concerned by “warlike messages” from Turkey “which essentially remove any of Azerbaijan s inhibitions in reconquering Nagorno-Karabakh”.
“And that we won t accept,” he said.
Nagorno-Karabakh is a mountainous enclave that broke away from Azerbaijan in the 1990s. The war killed approximately 30,000 people and displaced hundreds of thousands.
In the clashes in the Armenian media on Wednesday, the latest conflict in decades, the Armenian media said that the town of Matakot in Nagorno-Karabakh was shelled, killing three civilians and injuring several others.
Azerbaijan stated that 14 Azerbaijani civilians had been killed since the beginning of the fighting on Sunday and released video showing the interior of Nagorno-Karabakh being hit by Azerbaijani artillery and smog. Photos taken in the town of Terter, Azeri, showed people burying the dug land and destroying houses. Residents said they were attacked by Armenian shells.
Azerbaijan stated that the Armenian national forces tried to launch a counterattack in the direction of Maddkis to restore the lost ground, but the Azerbaijani forces repelled the attack.
Armenia said that the Azerbaijani army shelled the entire front line at night and two Azerbaijani drones were shot down in the administrative center of Nagorno-Karabakh, Stephen Nakert. The report cannot be independently confirmed.
In the latest telephone diplomacy, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan addressed Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who has borders with Armenia and Azerbaijan.
The Armenian government stated that Rouhani expressed concern about increased tensions, but did not disclose more details.
Pasinyan said that he is currently not considering seeking Russian help under the Post-Soviet Security Treaty, but he does not rule out doing so.
He said he and Russian President Vladimir Putin did not discuss the possibility of Russian military intervention when they spoke by phone on Tuesday.
The Kremlin said on Wednesday Russia s military was closely following developments.
Armenia s unified information centre, an online governmental platform, posted pictures of the wreckage of what it said was a SU-25 warplane shot down by a Turkish fighter jet on Tuesday.
Turkey denied downing the plane. A senior Azeri official accused Armenia of lying, and said two Armenian SU-25s had crashed into a mountain.