Heavy fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces over the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh continued for a fourth straight day on Wednesday, with statements from both sides indicating that the flare-up of a decades-old conflict that has killed dozens of people since Sunday was no closer to an end.
Both sides have accused one another of using foreign fighters and mercenaries. Turkey, which has publicly spoken out in support of Azerbaijan and called Armenia the “biggest threat to peace” in the region, has reportedly sent fighters from Syria to Baku.
Russia, which has a military base in Armenia, has been accused of sending fighters to help prop up Armenian forces. Turkey and Russia have denied interfering.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron called for an immediate ceasefire during a phone call Wednesday evening.
But as the fighting rages on, more countries are becoming involved for various political and strategic interests.
Israel has been one of the main providers of arms to Azerbaijan despite Armenia officially opening an embassy in Tel Aviv just this month.
Israel and Azerbaijan have a large amount of trade between oil and weapons.
Over the weekend, a US intelligence source told Al Arabiya English that Israel was sending planes full of weapons to Azerbaijan.
“Israel supplies weapons to [Azerbaijan]; two cargo flights from Israel have already landed in Baku today,” the source said.
Asked about Turkish interference, the source said the Azeris would have the upper hand military, “unless the Russians do something.”
“Those Turkish drones are unstoppable,” the source added.
Meanwhile, the foreign policy adviser to the president of Azerbaijan, Hikmet Hajiyev, told Axios that Baku’s defense cooperation with Israel was no secret.
Hajiyev also reportedly said that Azerbaijan was using Israeli “kamikaze drones” in the Nagorno-Karabakh fighting.
As for the Turkish drones, the Azeri official said: “If Armenia is scared of the drones that Azerbaijan is using, it should stop its occupation.”
The French president also condemned recent comments from Turkey as “reckless and dangerous” and said he was “extremely preoccupied by the belligerent messages from Turkey in the past hours.”
Armenia and Azerbaijan have been locked for decades in a conflict over the region, where a separatist war was fought in the early 1990s until three years after the breakup of the Soviet Union. The area in the Caucasus Mountains of about 4,400 square kilometers (1,700 square miles), roughly the size of the US state of Delaware, is 50 kilometers (30 miles) from the Armenian border.
- With AP