Images of war: 2-weeks of brutal fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan left hundreds dead before ceasefire declared
An Armenian soldier fires an artillery piece while fighting with Azerbaijan's armed forces in the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region on September 29, 2020. Ministry of Defense of Armenia / via REUTERS
Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed on a ceasefire starting Saturday, two weeks after brutal clashes killed hundreds of people and displaced thousands more.
A decades-long conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan flared up again on September 27th. Both sides fought for control of the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Nagorno-Karabakh is in Azerbaijan, but has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces since the end of a separatist war in 1994.
It was the largest escalation since the 1990s and includes heavy artillery, fighter jets, and drones.
Scroll down to see photos of what it was like in the region during this time of conflict.
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Armenia and Azerbaijan reached a ceasefire agreement that began on Saturday after two weeks of brutal fighting, in which hundreds of people were killed and thousands more displaced.
The deal reached in Moscow did not make it clear how long the ceasefire would last, and there were reports of continued fighting in the mountainous Nagorno-Karabakh region, according to Reuters.
Armenia and Azerbaijan have been embroiled in a conflict that has lasted for decades.
Nagorno-Karabakh is in Azerbaijan, but its 140,000 inhabitants are mainly ethnic Armenians and it has been under the control of Armenian forces since the end of a separatist war in 1994.
The most recent clashes were the largest escalation since the 1990s.
Scroll down to see 13 photos from what happened in the area.
Armenia and Azerbaijan have agreed a ceasefire that begins on Saturday after two weeks of fighting for control of the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Black smoke rises near buildings during a military conflict over the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region on October 4, 2020. Reuters
On September 27, Azerbaijani and Armenian forces clashed in the region.
Nagorno-Karabakh is a remote mountain region in Azerbaijan that has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces for over fifteen years after becoming autonomous during the Soviet era.
Nagorno-Karabakh is located in the Caucasus, a mountain region between Turkey, Russia and Iran. Google Maps
Both Christians and Muslims have been fighting for power over Nagorno-Karabakh for centuries.
While the majority of Azerbaijani people are Muslims, Nagorno-Karabakh's 140,000 residents are Armenian and ethnically Christian.
Sources: BBC, The Guardian
Fighting in the region has resumed in the past two weeks after Azerbaijani forces attempted to retake the areas occupied by Armenia.
A photo released by the Armenian Foreign Ministry shows an alleged civilian man from Nagorno-Karabakh receiving medical treatment on September 27, 2020.
The two sides have accused each other of spreading hostilities beyond Nagorno-Karabakh and targeting civilians.
Source: LA Times
In Armenia and Azerbaijan, heavy artillery, tanks, missiles and drones were also involved for the first time.
A pioneer works next to an unexploded BM-30 Smerch missile allegedly fired by Armenian forces near the Mingachevir hydropower plant in the city of Mingachevir, Azerbaijan, on October 5, 2020.
Both sides were charged with using cluster bombs, which were banned under the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM).
Cluster bombs are particularly dangerous because they cannot explode on impact, which means they can pose a threat to civilians long after conflicts have ended.
Source: The Guardian
This was the first time since the 1990s that populated areas in Nagorno-Karabakh had been hit by rocket attacks.
Man looks down at the rubble from his destroyed house in Stepanakert, Nagorno-Karabakh on October 7, 2020. Getty
An official from Nagorno-Karabakh said earlier this week that the shelling had resulted in thousands of people being evicted from their homes.
"According to our preliminary estimates, about 50% of the population of Karabakh and 90% of women and children - or about 70,000 to 75,000 people - have been displaced," according to the Guardian.
Source: The Guardian
Both sides accused each other of deliberately attacking civilian buildings.
Firefighters work as a building in a residential area that burns after the nightly shelling on October 3, 2020. AP
Armenia accused Azerbaijan on Thursday of shooting at a historic Nagorno-Karabakh cathedral.
A hole made from a shell in the roof of the Cathedral of the Holy Savior during a military conflict in Shushi outside of Stepanakert, Nagorno-Karabakh, Thursday, October 8, 2020.
However, Azerbaijan has denied shooting at the cathedral.
"The information about the damage to the church in Shusha has nothing to do with the military actions of the Azerbaijani army," Al Jazeera said in a Defense Ministry statement.
"Unlike the armed forces of Armenia ... the Azerbaijani army does not target historical, cultural or particularly religious buildings and monuments," they added.
A group of children were in the cathedral at the time of the bombing but were not wounded, according to local media reports.
"There is no military here, nothing strategic. How can you target a church?" A resident said, according to the Guardian.
Source: Associated Press
The worst affected city was the capital Stepanakert in Nagorno-Karabakh, where most of the residents no longer had electricity ...
Civilians gather in the basement of a building that serves as an air raid shelter in Stepanakert, Nagorno-Karabakh on October 5, 2020. Areg Balayan / ArmGov / PAN Photo / Handout via Reuters
... and others had to seek shelter in cellars and bunkers.
People watch TV on state television while sleeping in an air raid shelter to protect themselves from shelling on September 28, 2020 in Stepanakert, Nagorno-Karabakh.
More than 300 people died in the conflict, although the accident damage was not independently verified.
Firefighters put out a burning car on October 4, 2020 in Stepanakert, Nagorno-Karabakh. AP
Sources: BBC, Al-Jazeera
However, human rights organizations fear that the official death toll is actually much higher on both sides.
Local people will take part in a funeral service for an Azerbaijani soldier who died in action in one of the villages bordering Nagorno-Karabakh on October 8, 2020
After negotiations in Moscow, which were brokered by the Russian Foreign Minister, both sides agreed on a ceasefire that will begin at 12 noon on Saturday.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov takes part in a joint press conference with his Finnish counterpart Pekka Haavisto at the House of Estates in Helsinki. Reuters
Both sides were asked to exchange prisoners and bodies of those killed in the conflict.
"Azerbaijan and Armenia are starting substantial negotiations with the aim of reaching a peaceful solution as soon as possible," Lavrov told reporters, the Guardian said.
Source: The Guardian
However, within minutes of the ceasefire entering into force, both sides have accused each other of breaking it and expressed doubts about how serious the ceasefire will be.
Local residents seek shelter in a shelter in the city of Terter in Azerbaijan on October 6, 2020. REUTERS / Umit Bektas
Five minutes after the official ceasefire, Armenia accused Azerbaijan of having shelled one of its settlements, while the Karabakh armed forces claimed the Azerbaijani armed forces had launched a new offensive.
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