BAKU, Azerbaijan – Armenia suffered heavy losses as Azerbaijan exerted operational superiority along the entire front line of battle, Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said Sunday.

The ministry said news disseminated by Armenia that Azerbaijani soldiers were surrounded is false and misinformation.

“In fact, the real situation is completely different. The Azerbaijani army has an operational superiority along the entire front on the side,” the statement stated.

A new temporary humanitarian cease-fire took effect at midnight local time (2000 GMT) Sunday.

Baku and Yerevan agreed to a cease-fire starting midday Oct. 10 to allow an exchange of prisoners and the recovery of bodies in Nagorno-Karabakh, an internationally recognized Azerbaijani territory under Armenia’s occupation.

But before 24 hours passed on the agreement, Armenia carried out a missile attack on Ganja, Azerbaijan, killing 10 people, injuring 35 others.

It also targeted civilians during a funeral ceremony at a cemetery Oct. 15 in the western city of Terter. Four people were killed and four others injured in that attack.

Earlier Saturday, at least 13 civilians were killed, including four women and three minors, and nearly 50 others injured, when Armenian missiles once again struck Ganja.

– Nagorno-Karabakh dispute

Clashes erupted between the two countries Sept. 27 and Armenia has since continued its attacks on civilians and Azerbaijani forces, even violating a humanitarian cease-fire that came into force last week.

Relations between the two former Soviet republics have been tense since 1991 when the Armenian military occupied Upper Karabakh, or Nagorno-Karabakh, an internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan.

About 20% of Azerbaijan’s territory has remained under illegal Armenian occupation for nearly three decades.

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, however, was agreed to in 1994.

Multiple UN resolutions, as well as international organizations, demand the withdrawal of the occupying forces.

World powers, including Russia, France, and the US, have called for the cessation of hostilities. Turkey, meanwhile, has supported Baku’s right to self-defense and demanded the withdrawal of Armenia’s occupying forces.

*Writing by Seda Sevencan

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