Ten Azeri civilians killed since clashes with Armenia began: Azerbaijan president

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Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev said 10 civilians had been killed by Armenian shelling since Sunday. There was no official information about casualties among Azeri servicemen.

Dozens have been reported killed and hundreds wounded since the fierce clashes between Azerbaijan and its ethnic Armenian mountain enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh broke out on Sunday in a new eruption of a decades-old conflict.

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Armenia and Azerbaijan accused each other on Tuesday of firing into each other’s territory, far from the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone, as the worst spate of fighting since the 1990s raged for a third day and the civilian death toll mounted.

The Armenian defense ministry said an Armenian civilian bus in Vardenis -- a town in Armenia at the border with Azerbaijan and far from Nagorno-Karabakh -- caught fire after being hit by an Azeri drone, but no one appeared to be hurt. It said it was making further checks.

Nagorno-Karabakh is a breakaway region that is inside Azerbaijan but is run by ethnic Armenians and is supported by Armenia. It broke away from Azerbaijan in a war in the 1990s but is not recognized by any country as an independent republic.

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Any move to all-out war could drag in major regional powers Russia and Turkey. Moscow has a defence alliance with Armenia, which provides vital support to the enclave and is its lifeline to the outside world, while Ankara backs its own ethnic Turkic kin in Azerbaijan.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for an immediate ceasefire and de-escalation of the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia in phone calls with the countries’ leaders, government spokesman Steffen Seiber said on Tuesday.