Azerbaijan seizes arms from Armenian separatists
Armenian separatists have begun laying down their weapons under a Russian-mediated agreement as the first convoy of humanitarian aid entered Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijani officials announced.
Under the terms of the ceasefire, the Armenian separatists began handing over their weapons to Azerbaijan, including more than 800 guns and six armored vehicles, according to Russia’s defense ministry.
“We are in close cooperation with the Russian peacekeepers, conducting the demilitarization” of the separatists, Azerbaijan Ministry of Defense spokesman Anar Eyvazov told reporters in Shusha on Saturday, a district on the edge of the rebel stronghold of Stepanakert.
“We have already seized weapons and ammunition,” Eyvazov said, adding that its soldiers along with Russian peacekeepers are working jointly to disarm separatist fighters in the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
The fighting flared up on Tuesday after Azerbaijan launched a military operation in the region, accusing the Armenian-backed troops there of “systematic” shelling, “reconnaissance activities,” fortification of defensive positions, and “high-level of combat readiness.”
Baku demanded that separatists lay down their arms and the separatist government disband.
Peace talks between the two fighting sides over Nagorno-Karabakh, which both want full control of, are scheduled on Thursday in the Azerbaijani town of Yevlakh.