Civilians killed in Ganja as Nagorno-Karabakh battle escalates

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At least 13 civilians – together with two kids – have been killed and greater than 40 wounded in an assault on Azerbaijan’s second metropolis of Ganja that Baku stated was carried out by Armenia.
A missile assault levelled a row of houses on Saturday, killing and badly injuring individuals of their sleep in a pointy escalation of the Nagorno-Karabakh battle.
Armenia denied it was behind the assault and in flip accused Azerbaijan of continued shelling on Stepanakert, the principle metropolis of the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh area.
The assault on Ganja marks a pointy escalation within the battle, with Azeri President Ilham Aliyev promising “revenge”.
According to Hikmat Hajiyev, an assistant to the Azeri president, “more than 20 houses were destroyed” within the assault.
Mushfiq Jafarov, a member of parliament from Ganja, instructed Al Jazeera that two kids are amongst these killed.
“There are only civilians living here,” stated Jafarov.
The assault on Ganja, which has a inhabitants of greater than 300,000 individuals, got here solely six days after a missile struck one other residential a part of the town, killing 10 civilians and leaving many on edge.
“Fortunately my family and I were not at home,” Sevil Aliyeva, a resident from Ganja, instructed Al Jazeera. “My house is destroyed.”
Farhad Hasanov, a survivor of Ganja assault [Seymur Kasimov/Al Jazeera]Rescue employees are digging by the rubble to search out survivors.
One man was buried below the particles for 30 minutes earlier than he was rescued. He stated he was very drained and wished this battle to finish quickly.
At across the similar time within the metropolis of Mingecevir, an hour’s drive north of Ganja, AFP information company reported the influence of an enormous blast that shook buildings.
Mingecevir is protected by a missile defence system as a result of it’s home to a strategic dam, and it was not instantly clear if the missile was destroyed within the air or had made an influence.
The defence ministry stated Mingecevir had come “under fire”, however offered no different quick particulars.
An Azerbaijani official stated a second missile hit a separate, industrial district of Ganja at across the similar time.
Al Jazeera correspondent Sinem Koseoglu, reporting from Baku, stated Azerbaijan was attempting to run the diplomacy channels.
“We just heard from the assistant to the president that he himself is delegating a group of foreign diplomats and military attaches to head to Ganja to see the explosion site,” she stated.
Azeri officers stated the Scud missile was fired from the Armenian territory, which the Armenians have constantly denied.
“Based on Armenia’s defence ministry spokesperson’s claims, Ganja is a military target because of [the presence of] some military units, battalions and brigades and some defence industry factories,” Koseoglu stated.
“Since October 4, Ganja has been targeted by rockets and ballistic missiles. These land in residential areas and the city centre, the most crowded dense residential areas.”
A resident sits amid the rubble and awaits the seek for his kin as rescue groups work at a web site hit by a rocket throughout preventing over the breakaway area of Nagorno-Karabakh, within the metropolis of Ganja, Azerbaijan early on October 17, 2020 [Bulent Kilic/AFP]Hours after the shelling, the Azeri president stated the nation’s military would retaliate in opposition to Armenia and “take revenge on the battlefield”.
Turkey, a detailed ally of Azerbaijan, condemned the assault and known as it a “war crime”.
“Armenia still commits war crimes and massacres civilians,” stated Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in a tweet. “Silence against this atrocity equals sharing responsibility of these murders.”
Armenian defence ministry denied the Azeri declare on shelling cities in Azerbaijan and accused Baku of constant to shell populated areas inside Nagorno-Karabakh, together with Stepanakert, the area’s largest metropolis.
Three civilians have been wounded on account of Azeri hearth in Nagorno-Karabakh, the Armenian international ministry stated.
“We woke up at 4am due to an awful blow, it was not just a strike, it was something more powerful … we are scared, but we got used to it,” Lika Zakaryan, a 26-year-old resident of Stepanakert, instructed Reuters information company.
“Sometimes we felt as if they were hitting directly on us.”
Al Jazeera’s Bernard Smith stated Armenia is now below intense strain, having misplaced management of some territory it has managed for the reason that 1994 ceasefire to Azerbaijan.
“The foreign ministry of Armenia has released a tweet and it says that consistent attempts by Azerbaijan to extend the geography of the conflict, plus irreversibly undermining regional security should be condemned in the strongest terms,” Smith stated, talking from the Armenian city of Vorotan.
“Armenia is accusing Azerbaijan of taking this territory militarily rather than the negotiations over which both sides agreed to take part in.”
The preventing which started on September 27 is the worst within the area since Azerbaijan and ethnic Armenian forces went to conflict within the 1990s over Nagorno-Karabakh, a breakaway Azeri area predominantly populated and ruled by ethnic Armenians.
More than 700 individuals, together with nearly 80 civilians, have been killed within the battle to date.
Additional reporting by Seymur Kazimov in Ganja