The Ministry of Defense in Azerbaijan announced the shooting down of an Armenian drone, and the Azerbaijani president vowed to respond to the killing of civilians, while Turkey accused Armenia of committing war crimes.
The Azerbaijani ministry said in a statement that its forces had uncovered an Armenian drone carrying out reconnaissance work on military sites near Tufuz province, which borders Armenia, and confirmed that its forces had shot down the march.
Earlier on Saturday, the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense announced that an Armenian Su-25 warplane had been shot down in Karabakh province.
For his part, Al-Jazeera correspondent reported that 13 people were killed and more than 40 were wounded, in the bombing of the city of Ganja, in northeastern Azerbaijan.
Late on Friday evening, the city of Ganja was subjected to an airstrike by the Armenian army, using ballistic Scud Elbrus missiles, which killed 13 civilians, wounded more than 40 others, and caused the demolition of more than 20 homes.
Armenia, for its part, denied responsibility for the bombing, but Azerbaijan vowed to respond to Armenia in the field.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev announced that his country’s forces had managed to liberate the city of Fuzuli in the Karabakh region from the Armenian forces, and said that the response to the bombing of Ganja would be to liberate more occupied lands.
In turn, Hikmat Hajiyev, Assistant to the President, said that preliminary information indicates that 20 homes were destroyed in the bombing of Ganja, adding that “the state terror policy practiced by Armenia must stop.”
The Azerbaijani Public Prosecution announced that the toll of Armenian bombing raids on Azerbaijani residential areas since last September 27 has increased to 60 dead and 270 injured.
The forces of the Armenian Karabakh region, which is not recognized internationally, published a list of military sites in Ganja, describing them as legitimate targets.
In this context, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said today that Armenia continues to commit war crimes, while those calling for a truce and negotiations continue to watch the Armenian attacks from a distance.
This came in a telephone conversation between the Turkish minister and his Azerbaijani counterpart Zakir Hasanov, during which they discussed the military operation that Azerbaijan is carrying out to liberate its occupied territories by Armenia.
Akar expressed his confidence that the Azerbaijani armed forces will not let the blood of the dead civilians go to waste, stressing that his country will continue to stand with the Azerbaijanis in their struggle to protect their territorial integrity and continue to support them by all means in their just cause, as he put it.
Since the “humanitarian” truce was reached on October 10 in Moscow – it was supposed to allow the exchange of the bodies of soldiers and prisoners – fighting continued on many fronts, and Azerbaijan and Armenia exchanged accusations of violating the armistice and targeting civilian areas.
For its part, the United Nations strongly condemned all forms of attacks targeting civilians in the ongoing clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan, expressing its deep concern over those battles and their repercussions on civilians.
Commenting on the recent escalation in the disputed territory, Stefan Dujarric, spokesman for the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, said that the latter was deeply concerned about the continuing fighting in Karabakh.
He added that Guterres is continuing his diplomatic efforts to find a solution to the conflict. Dujarric emphasized that the Secretary-General’s message to both parties is to abide by the ceasefire and return to negotiations.
In turn, Farhan Haq, deputy spokesperson for the United Nations, said that Guterres had made two phone calls to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia Zohrab Mnatsakyanian, and his Azerbaijani counterpart, Jihon Piramov, urging them to fully implement the ceasefire.
He pointed out that civilians are the ones who bear the burden of these three-week battles, adding, “We strongly condemn any attack or targeting of areas where civilians live.”