News Desk World

Sat 17 October 2020:

The United Nations has condemned the merciless attack on civilians by Armenia on Azerbaijan.

The UN said, “parties should protect civilians and civilian infrastructure under international humanitarian law. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres remains very deeply concerned about the ongoing hostilities and their impact on the populations.”

Guterres’ spokesman Farhan Haq spoke to Anadolu Agency on Saturday and added, “We reiterate our strong condemnation of any targeting and attacks against civilian populated areas anywhere.”

Overnight attacks

The UN statement comes after Armenian armed forces launched a missile attack on Azerbaijan’s second-largest city Ganja and Mingacevir.

At least 12 people have been killed including two children and 40 more wounded in the attack, said Azerbaijan’s general prosecutor office early on Saturday.

The missile strikes late on Friday hit busy areas in and around the city centre of Ganja, which is about 60 kilometres away from the Nagorno-Karabakh frontline.

Many civilians have been reported buried under the rubble of buildings destroyed by the strikes.

At least 20 buildings have been destroyed in Armenia’s missile attacks, said Azerbaijan’s presidential aide Hikmet Hajiyev in a tweet.

One of the Armenian missiles fell near a school in Ganja city. Another missile targeted a multi-storey residential apartment which was completely destroyed.

Search and rescue teams continued to carry out their work through the night. Volunteers also helped the rescue effort.

“Civilians are continued to be saved from the debris of destruction by emergency services,” Hajiyev said.

Attack in Mingacevir

A hydroelectric power plant in Mingacevir was targeted by the Armenian forces after midnight, Azerbaijan’s public prosecutor’s office said.

But, the missiles were intercepted and destroyed by the Azerbaijani air defence forces, the office added.


Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

Recent clashes erupted between the two countries on September 27, and since then, Armenia has continued its attacks on civilians and Azerbaijani forces.

Relations between the two former Soviet republics have been tense since 1991 when the Armenian military occupied Upper Karabakh, or Nagorno-Karabakh, an internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan.

The OSCE Minsk Group – co-chaired by France, Russia, and the US – was formed in 1992 to find a peaceful solution to the conflict, but to no avail. A ceasefire, however, was agreed to in 1994. Multiple UN resolutions, as well as international organisations, demand the withdrawal of the occupying forces.

World powers, including Russia, France, and the US, have urged a new ceasefire. Turkey, meanwhile, has supported Baku’s right to self-defence and demanded the withdrawal of Armenia’s occupying forces.

About 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s territory has remained under illegal Armenian occupation for nearly three decades.

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