BAKU, Azerbaijan

Russian Orthodox and Jewish residents in Azerbaijan’s capital Baku prayed for the country’s success in ongoing operations to liberate occupied territories from Armenia.

In the ceremony held at the Holy Myrrbearers Cathedral, Orthodox clerics prayed for a swift victory for the Azerbaijan and peace to be restored in the region.

Ashkenazi Jewish people in Baku also wished for an Azerbaijani victory during a ceremony they organized.

Shneur Segal, Rabbi of the Ashkenazi Jewish community in Azerbaijan, voiced their support for the country.

He underlined that different ethnic and religious communities co-exist peacefully in Azerbaijan.

“Today, we prayed for every soldier and our army, which fights for our motherland. I believe we’ll hold our next sermon at Shusha,” he said, referring to a city in the region of Nagorno-Karabakh, also known as Upper Karabakh.

Relations between the two former Soviet republics have been strained since 1991, when the Armenian military occupied Upper Karabakh, an internationally recognized territory in Azerbaijan.

New clashes erupted on Sept. 27, and since then Armenia has continued attacks on civilians and Azerbaijani forces.

The OSCE Minsk Group — co-chaired by France, Russia and the US — was formed in 1992 to find a peaceful solution to the conflict, but to no avail. A cease-fire was agreed to in 1994.

Many world powers, including Russia, France, and the US, have urged a new cease-fire. Turkey, meanwhile, has supported Baku’s right to self-defense and demanded a withdrawal of Armenia’s occupying forces.

* Written by Ahmet Gencturk in Ankara

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