Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh accept ceasefire after Azerbaijan offensive

Armenian forces have accepted Russian-brokered ceasefire terms a day hours after Azerbaijan’s military launched an invasion of the contested enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh.

The ceasefire terms call for the complete disarmament of Nagorno-Karabakh troops.

Notably, Nagorno-Karabakh is home to approximately 120,000 ethnic Armenians and is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan recovered control of territories in and surrounding Karabakh three years ago, and on Tuesday (September 19), they demanded unconditional surrender.

According to Karabakh officials, the Azerbaijani military latest operation have killed at least 32 persons and injured 200 more.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan reported a calming of hostilities in the region one hour after the ceasefire declaration.

Azerbaijani authorities reported that the military operation launched a day earlier was halted as soon as separatist representatives announced their decision to disarm.

However, it was unclear whether some sporadic violence would continue.

On Tuesday, Azerbaijan unleashed a strong artillery bombardment against Armenian positions in Nagorno-Karabakh, a mountainous region that is technically part of Azerbaijan but was taken over by ethnic Armenian forces during a separatist battle in the 1990s.

The latest escalation has fueled fears of a resumption of full-fledged fighting in the region between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

Since the fall of the Soviet Union, these two countries have been at odds over the region.

The most recent violent hostilities took place over a six-week period in 2020, during which Azerbaijan reclaimed control of portions of the region and adjacent areas lost in an earlier separatist conflict.

Historically, the ongoing struggle has brought in powerful regional actors such as Russia and Turkey.

Turkey has publicly backed Azerbaijan, while Russia has acted as a go-between, facilitating the ceasefire that ended the 2020 hostilities.

Russia has also sent peacekeepers to oversee the previous truce, and both parties acknowledged their roles in achieving the latest accord.

Discussions were scheduled for Thursday (September 21) between Azerbaijani officials and the region’s ethnic Armenian authorities, with the goal of resolving the region’s “re-integration” with Azerbaijan.

The deal calls for the departure of Armenian military troops and equipment from Nagorno-Karabakh, as well as the disarmament of local defence units, according to Azerbaijan’s Defence Ministry.

Armenian Prime Minister Pashinyan stressed that his government was not actively involved in the agreement’s discussions or negotiations.

source: express.co.uk