Armenia and Azerbaijan are continuing to ignore calls for negotiations from the international community and are vowing to keep fighting in a conflict that has already claimed over 100 lives.
It is a story born out of a far larger historical context, dating way back to the Soviet Union’s annexation of Armenia, but more specifically with ethnic Armenian province, Nagorno-Karabakh’s breakaway from Azerbaijan in the 1990s when the Soviet Union collapsed. A more recent development saw tensions rise between Armenia and Azerbaijan in April 2016, when Azerbaijan claimed to have killed or wounded more than 100 Armenians within the Nagorno-Karabakh, which set the narrative for the conflict that played out over the weekend.
Azerbaijan are accusing Armenia of being the aggressors in the conflict that broke out over the weekend. Al Jazeera reported on the fiercest clashes in the region for more than a quarter of a century in the latest chapter of this regional dispute. As things stand, the geography of the region can best be understood as a dispute over the Nagorno-Karabakh territory, which forms part of Azerbaijan, but is comprised mostly of ethnic Armenians.
There is also the potential for a regional powers, Russia and Turkey, to get involved in the conflict, based on the history of the Armenia-Azerbaijan dispute. Russia has a military alliance with Armenia, while Turkey was complicit in the Armenian genocide that was carried out between 1914 and 1923.
Officials from the Armenian capital, Yerevan, claimed to have killed 26 opposition forces on Monday.
“[we launched a] massive offensive at the Karabakh front line’s southern and northeastern sectors,” said Armenia’s Ministry of Defense spokesman Artsrun Hovhannisyan, as reported by Al Jazeera. “Twenty-six servicemen of Karabakh’s Defence Army died.”
“Azerbaijan’s defence ministry countered, saying that its forces have killed 2,300 Karabakh troops and “destroyed 130 tanks, 200 artillery units, 25 anti-aircraft units, five ammunition depots, 50 anti-tank units, 55 military vehicles”,” according to the latest reports and Russian President, Vladimir Putin, as well as France’s Emmanuel Macron have become the most prominent leaders to call for a ceasefire between the two nations.
“Vladimir Putin and Emmanuel Macron called on the warring sides to halt fire completely and as soon as possible, de-escalate tensions and show maximum restraint,” the Kremlin said in a statement early on Thursday.
However, so far, Armenia and Azerbaijan have rejected international calls for negotiations.
On Wednesday, Karabakh leader Arayik Harutyunyan said “we need to prepare for a long-term war.” And Olesya Vartanyan of the International Crisis Group said “we are definitely very close to seeing a large-scale war, possibly even on a regional scale,”
Armenia has reported 104 military deaths and 23 civilians killed.
It claimed that Azerbaijan had lost 130 troops while another 200 were wounded.
This conflict will inevitably draw comparisons between Syria and the outbreak of its ongoing civil war, which began in 2011 through similar destabilisations and ethnic conflicts. It was also a concoction of similar geopolitical factors, particularly with regards to foreign influences and ambiguous allegiances.