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Fighting erupts in Nagorno-Karabakh, casualties reported

A new wave of fighting broke out in the Nagorno-Karabakh region on Saturday.

According to Azerbaijan's defence ministry, early morning on Feb. 25 the Armenian armed forces made an attempt to penetrate into the positions of Azerbaijani army in different directions.

The Armenian side broke a cease-fire to implement a large-scale provocation on the frontline and to seize advantageous positions in Khojavand and Fuzuli directions, the Azeri Ministry said in a statement released on Feb. 25.

The ex-Soviet states of Azerbaijan and Armenia fought a war over the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh in the early 1990s, with thousands killed on both sides and hundreds of thousands displaced. Armenian forces also occupied several Azerbaijani areas outside Nagorno-Karabakh.

The Azerbaijani troops identified the actions of Armenian side in advance and conducted retaliatory military actions against the separatist forces to prevent their penetration deep into Azeri defense area, the statement said.

Azerbaijani soldiers were killed in a ceasefire violation, the country's Defence ministry said without specifying the exact number of casualties.

"Failing to move forward in various areas, the enemy using heavy artillery continues to fire the positions of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces," it said. It added that in accordance with situation, the Azerbaijani army takes appropriate counter measures against the positions and staging areas of the enemy.

However, according to the report of the state news agency of Armenia, Armenpress, citing the spokesman of the Defense Ministry of Armenia, the Azerbaijani side conducted the attack attempt near the village of Baghnis, Artsrun Hovhannisyan at the contact line of the Nagorno-Karabakh, causing material damage to the civilians on Feb 25.

The war ended with a truce in 1994, but the conflict is far from a peaceful resolution.

Clashes around the region have fuelled worries of a widening conflict breaking out in the region, which is crossed by oil and natural gas pipelines.

The last heavy fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces over the Nagorno-Karabakh region broke out on April. 2, 2016. The clash lasted several days and left more than 70 soldiers dead on both sides before a ceasefire was agreed in Moscow on April.5.

[Source: Xinhua, Baku, 25Feb17]

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