Azeris Call Truce in Caucasus Clash

Azeris Call Truce in Caucasus ClashAzeris Call Truce in Caucasus Clash

Azerbaijan has announced a “unilateral ceasefire” in fighting with Armenian forces over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.

A defense ministry spokesman said the Azeris were acting in response to international calls to halt violence.

Firing had continued into Sunday, after clashes left 30 soldiers dead and caused civilian casualties, BBC reported.

Nagorno-Karabakh has been in the hands of ethnic-Armenian separatists since a war that ended in 1994.

“Azerbaijan, showing goodwill, has decided to unilaterally cease hostilities,” the defense ministry said in a statement.

It warned it would strike back if its forces came under attack.

Meanwhile, reports from Armenia said two Karabakh soldiers had been injured in the fighting on Sunday.

Earlier, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had said he backed Azerbaijan “to the end” in the clashes.

Turkey has close ties to Baku but does not have relations with Armenia because of the dispute over mass killings of Armenians during the Ottoman era, which Armenia says was a genocide. Turkey staunchly denies this.

On Saturday, Armenia said 18 ethnic-Armenian troops died, while Azerbaijan said it had lost 12 troops. The Karabakh Defense Ministry said a 12-year-old boy had been killed and two other children injured.

Each side blamed the other for breaking the ceasefire. Azerbaijan said its forces had taken over two strategic hills and a village but lost a helicopter.

The Armenian government said Azerbaijan had launched a “massive attack” with tanks, artillery and helicopters.