CrisisWatch Azerbaijan

Deteriorated Situation

Conflict Risk Alert

Clashes erupted along border with Armenia, marking deadliest escalation since 2020 war as fighting spilled deeper into Armenian territory; fighting could escalate once more as negotiating positions harden.

Renewed hostilities with Armenia killed hundreds. Clashes 13 Sept erupted along border with Armenia, marking deadliest violence between two countries since six-week war in 2020. Sides blamed each other for renewed fighting; Armenian defence ministry 13 Sept said Azerbaijani forces shelled 200km stretch of southern border in Armenia’s Syunik and Gegharkunik provinces, attacking civilian and military infrastructure in “unprovoked aggression” and moving deep inside Armenian territory; Baku same day rejected characterisation, saying its forces took action to prevent Armenian “saboteurs” from mining supply roads on border near Azerbaijani army positions. Armenian PM Pashinyan 14 Sept said Azerbaijani army had taken control of at least 10 sq km of Armenian territory. Yerevan and Baku 14 Sept issued statements committing to ceasefire, although both countries 14, 21, 23, 24, 28 Sept accused each other of violating it. Fighting in two days killed at least 207 Armenian and 80 Azerbaijani soldiers; Yerevan 19 Sept said four Armenian civilians were killed and that authorities had been forced to evacuate over 2,700 civilians from Syunik and Gegharkunik provinces. Addressing UN General Assembly (UNGA), Pashinyan 22 Sept said threat of new offensive remained “very high” and that “Azerbaijan intends to occupy more territories of Armenia”.

Clashes prompted flurry of diplomatic activity. Before fragile ceasefire was announced, Russia, U.S., EU and France 13 Sept called for peace and restraint, with Moscow announcing it had brokered ceasefire, though fighting persisted into following day. In rare show of unity, UN Security Council members 15 Sept condemned violence and urged talks. On sidelines of UNGA, U.S. Sec State Antony Blinken 19 Sept brought together both countries’ FMs, urging “strong, sustainable diplomatic engagement” to reinforce fragile ceasefire. In less measured response, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi day blamed Azerbaijani forces for “illegal and deadly attacks on Armenian territory” during visit to Yerevan day before; Baku 18 Sept said Pelosi’s “groundless” accusations dealt blow to peace efforts.

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In The News

13 Jul 2020
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Olesya Vartanyan

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