bne IntelliNews – Armenia accuses Turkey of sending direct military support to Azerbaijan, including F-16s

Armenia accused Turkey on September 28 of providing direct military support to Azerbaijan, including F-16 fighter jets, while fierce and bloody fighting between Armenians and Azerbaijanis continued to rage in the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.

The Armenian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Turkey has a “direct presence on the ground.” Turkish military experts, he added, were “fighting side by side” with Azerbaijan, which he said was also using Turkish weapons, including armed drones and warplanes, including the F-16s.

Azerbaijan has denied the allegations. There was no immediate reaction from NATO member Turkey. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had previously said that Turkey stood alongside Azerbaijan “with all means, as always”.

An employee of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, meanwhile, denied claims by Armenian officials that Turkey sent militiamen from Syria to Azerbaijan and that they took part in the fighting.

Armenia’s ambassador to Russia said earlier on September 28 that Turkey had sent around 4,000 fighters from northern Syria to Azerbaijan, Interfax and RIA news agencies reported.

“The rumors that Syrian militants are being redeployed to Azerbaijan are another provocation on the Armenian side and utter nonsense,” said aide Khikmet Gadzhiev.

Lost positions “taken over”

Separatist authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh said 31 of their troops had died and some lost positions had been recaptured. Azerbaijan said Armenian shelling injured 26 civilians. Officials in Baku denied claims from Yerevan reported by Armenpress that on the morning of September 28, the Azerbaijani side lost around 200 soldiers, four attack helicopters, 27 armed drones, 36 tanks, one armored vehicle, two vehicles. field engineer armored vehicles and 11 pieces. armored equipment.

The two sides accuse each other of starting the fighting that began early on September 27.

Russia, which has military bases in Armenia’s strategic ally, called for an immediate ceasefire and has held talks with both Yerevan and Baku. There have been calls from around the world for an end to the fighting, including from the US, France, China, Iran and the EU, but there are no tangible signs yet. that it becomes a probability.

The Armenian Defense Ministry said fighting took place overnight on September 28, while the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said Armenian forces were bombing the town of Terter, just outside the enclave. mountainous region of Nagorno-Karabakh, the self-proclaimed “Republic of Artsakh” under Azerbaijani control. by ethnic Armenians but which has no international recognition.

Armenia and Azerbaijan waged a six-year war in the region until a ceasefire in 1994. An estimated one million people were displaced by the war, while around 30,000 were killed. Since then, there have been occasional outbreaks of fighting. At least 200 people were killed in an outbreak of conflict in April 2016.

Nagorno-Karabakh, an area of ​​approximately 4,400 km² (1,700 square miles) was traditionally inhabited by Christian Armenians and Muslim Turks. During Soviet times, it became an autonomous region within the Republic of Azerbaijan.

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