Scottish media on escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh
The confrontation between the occupying forces of Armenia and the Azerbaijani army continues in Nagorno-Karaakh. Early on Sunday, the armed forces of Armenia shelled the positions of the Azerbaijani army along the entire front line and nearby settlements from large-caliber weapons, mortars and artillery systems of various types. In response, the command of the Azerbaijani army decided to launch a counter-offensive operation along the entire front line.
The development resonated in the international media. Scotsman in the article Armenia vs Azerbaijan conflict: the dispute over the Nagorno-Karabakh region explained as violence continues writes that this flare-up is the latest in a long line of conflicts which have plagued the disputed region, dating back to a bloody war in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The last time fighting was this intense was in 2016 when over 200 were killed in clashes. Though internationally recognised as a part of Azerbaijan, the region is controlled by ethnic Armenians. There are fears that the conflict could destabilise the region.
Azerbaijani president has vowed to fight on, stating: "We only have one condition: Armenian armed forces must unconditionally, fully, and immediately leave our lands.” Both modern-day Armenia and Azerbaijan became a part of the Soviet Union in the 1920s, and while Nagorno-Karabakh was an Armenia controlled region, the Soviet Union handed powers to Azerbaijan. Over the following decades, Armenians in the region consistently made calls for the mountainous area to be returned to Armenian control. This came to a head in the 1980s when the Soviet Union began to collapse and politicians in the region voted to join Armenia. A violent conflict ensued when both declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1988, with tens of thousands of casualties recorded and hundreds of thousands displaced.
A ceasefire between the two countries was brokered by Russia in 1994, with Azerbaijan retaining control of the region. Since then Nagorno-Karabakh has largely been governed by Armenian separatists who declared the region a republic. Tension has flared up on several occasions in the past couple of decades.