Tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan have once again escalated following a deadly border clash Thursday.
Friday, the Interfax news agency reports that “43 people were killed, 106 injured in the Armenian-Azerbaijani border clash,” citing the “Daily Herald.” The incident, which was reportedly the most deadly border skirmish in 30 years, occurred Thursday near the border city of Gandja.
The police found a dead body on Friday, Mashreqiyar Hajiyev, head of the Baku Police Department, told the Anadolu news agency. Some of the victims were “completely burned to death” and were identified by DNA technology. As many as 120 others may have been injured.
A senior officer in the Republic of Azerbaijan announced Friday that 36 people were killed.
The Azerbaijani Interior Ministry has indicated that casualties on the Azerbaijani side include 22 police officers, three servicemen and four civilians.
The Indian Express reports that Azerbaijan’s Health Ministry has reported that 35 died. The Sabatino Hospital announced that 17 of its patients are now dead, and two more are “in critical condition.” Other patients are in stable condition.
Baku was overwhelmed with mourners with “razeddas,” which are traditional Armenian-Armenian shrines. “It’s impossible to do this,” said Baku city mayor Aziz Abdullayev.
The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan has come to a boiling point in recent weeks.
South Caucasus-focused news outlet Search News reports that “Armenian officials have blamed their Azerbaijani counterparts for the latest deaths, claiming that they did not open a proper exchange of information and blame the attacks on the Armenians.”
Ivan Dinkevitch, from the South Caucasus Council, confirmed to Search News that Thursday’s border skirmish was the most deadly for both sides since the war in Nagorno-Karabakh in 1994.
Sergei Markov, senior editor for the Russian Public Opinion Research Center, told Search News that Armenian Defense Minister Vardan Oskanian “said an agreement exists that the borders are safe until they are agreed, and he was trying to get his Azerbaijani counterparts to open the borders.”
Kara Nkera, director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Media Center and a former Armenia reporter, said she has no idea why the war is erupting. “There are no signs in the area,” she said. “The situation is likely unprecedented because there was no current conflict until now.”
Azerbaijan’s communications minister, Ali Abbasov, said the skirmish was a continuation of “an unprovoked attack by the Armenian armed forces on Azerbaijani territory.” He said he doesn’t know what the motive is for it, but it’s only natural that both sides would respond.
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