Azerbaijan authorities are threatening retaliation against Armenians for allegedly bombing the city of Ganja. One person was killed and four injured in the attack. Conflict has been brewing the in region for a week between Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh, an enclave of ethnic Armenians within Azerbaijan.
While Nagorno-Karabakh or the Republic of Artsakh claims autonomy, Azerbaijan doesn’t recognize it. Now, it appears the conflict here could spill over into a full-fledged war between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
Hikmet Hajiyev, Assistant of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Head of Foreign Policy Affairs Department of the Presidential Administration, took to Twitter saying, “Armenia launched missile attack to residential areas in Ganja, Tartar, Fizuli regions of Azerbaijan. Armenia as state and insane Political-military leadership of Armenia remains source of immenent threat to regional peace/security. Azerbaijan will continue to defend its citizens.” He added, “Azerbaijan retains its right to take adequate measures against legitimate military targets to defend civilians and enforce Armenia to peace.”
Should this conflict escalate further, the entire Caucasus region could become the latest playground for proxy wars between bigger players. It is no secret that while Azerbaijan is close to Turkey which is in turn a close ally of the United States, Armenia enjoys the patronage of Russia.
The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs just released a statement saying, “Armenia’s attacks today, targeting the civilian population in Ganja, the second largest city of Azerbaijan, are a new manifestation of Armenia’s disregard of law. We condemn these attacks.” The statement went on to say, “These attacks are an indication of the desperation of Armenia and that it will not shy away from committing crimes against humanity in order to continue its illegal occupation.” Turkey rallied behind Azerbaijan saying, “We support the stance of the Azerbaijani administration which has announced that it will not respond to Armenia’s provocations, that it is exercising its right of self-defense arising from international law within its internationally recognized borders and that it is making every possible effort to prevent harm to the civilian population.”
Armenia meanwhile denied that it bombed Azerbaijan, but accused Azerbaijan and Turkey of targeting Armenians in Artsakh and other areas. Taking to Twitter, the Amernian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, “Deliberate targeting of civilian population & infrastructure of Artsakh by military-political leadership of Azerbaijan is a gross violation of international humanitarian law, and the latter will bear full responsibility for this war crime.”
Meanwhile a visibly injured Artak Beglaryan, the Human Rights Ombudsman of the Republic of Artsakh issued a video statement showcasing the devastation in the region urging the international community to not turn a blind eye to “war crimes perpetrated by Azerbaijani armed forces.”