Alwaght- Azerbaijan forces have seized control of a strategic town between the enclave and the Iranian border in disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, as a new US-brokered ceasefire failed to end a month of fighting.
Armenian defense ministry official Artsrun Hovhannisyan said in a news conference late on Monday that ethnic Armenian forces had given up the settlement of Gubadli south of the enclave “to avoid unnecessary losses”, but the situation was “not critical”, Reuters reported.
Karabakh is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, but it has been administered by ethnic Armenian separatists backed by Armenia since 1992, when they broke from Azerbaijan in a war that killed some 30,000 people.
In 1994, a ceasefire was put in place, and France, Russia, and the US — known as the “Minsk Group” — were tasked with finding a lasting solution to the conflict. But for decades, the group has failed to stop the sporadic outbreaks of fighting and implement United Nations resolutions that demand an Armenian withdrawal from the Nagorno-Karabakh.
The latest fighting over the region began on September 27 and has claimed hundreds of lives, with the international community repeatedly calling on both warring sides to agree to an immediate and unconditional truce.
The renewed fighting has increased concern that Turkey, which fully backs Azerbaijan, and Russia, which has a defense pact with Armenia, could be sucked into the conflict.
The two countries agreed to a ceasefire on Sunday when their foreign ministers separately met U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington. But the truce seems to have had little impact; two previous ceasefires brokered by Russia were largely ignored.