Azerbaijani and Armenian troops meet in deadly battle

Written by Pakeme Seidule, CNN A deadly clash between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces in the Karabakh region last November escalated hostilities between the two former Soviet republics. At least eight civilians were killed and…

Azerbaijani and Armenian troops meet in deadly battle

Written by Pakeme Seidule, CNN

A deadly clash between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces in the Karabakh region last November escalated hostilities between the two former Soviet republics.

At least eight civilians were killed and hundreds of people were injured in the fiery, dawn attack near the Armenian-held town of Sheikh-israr.

Six Azerbaijani servicemen were killed and 27 injured in the three days of fighting that followed.

In a rare glimpse of the conflict during a peacekeeping mission in June this year, CNN witnessed last year’s conflict from a minivan along Armenia’s side of the border.

The skirmish began on November 19, when Armenian troops opened fire on Azerbaijani troops stationed on a mountain ridge in Karabakh, killing two soldiers, according to the Armenian Defense Ministry.

Azerbaijani security officials claim to have recovered the bodies of seven soldiers and a civilian near Sheikh-israr, while about 30 others remain missing.

Less than two hours after the attack began, Azerbaijani special forces launched a counteroffensive across the same area, arresting 30 rebels, according to the Defense Ministry.

The current conflict dates back to the early 1990s, when Karabakh broke away from Azerbaijan following a war over its independence.

Karabakh is now occupied by Azerbaijan and forms part of the Armenian-controlled Nagorno-Karabakh region, which borders Russia, Turkey and Iran.

In June, Azerbaijan and Armenia have engaged in cease-fire violations that lasted several days in July, according to Amnesty International.

Baku’s foreign ministry called the cease-fire violations “flagrant aggression.”

The Armenian National Committee of America said they were reminders of an “extremely dangerous deteriorating situation in the region,” CNN reported.

* An earlier version of this story used incorrect translation in some parts and did not include the full transcript of the interview.

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