ANKARA

The Azerbaijani president on Sunday announced that the nation’s flag was raised on a historic bridge connecting the country with Iran, as its conflict with Armenia over the Karabakh region continues.

“Azerbaijani Armed Forces have raised Azerbaijan’s flag over the ancient Khudaferin Bridge. Long live the people of Azerbaijan! Karabakh is Azerbaijan!” Ilham Aliyev said on Twitter.

The bridge, constructed in the 11th century, is in Jabrayil region across the Aras River, which connects Iran with Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijani army recently liberated Jabrayil’s city center and some villages from the occupation of Armenian army.

Earlier, Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry announced that Armenian forces had already “grossly violated” a new humanitarian cease-fire only hours old, using large-caliber weapons, mortars and artillery.

A new cease-fire – the second since hostilities around Upper Karabakh, or Nagorno-Karabakh, began on Sept. 27 – was announced on Saturday, and went into effect at 12 midnight (2000GMT).

It was reached between Baku and Yerevan after the Oct. 10 truce – meant to allow an exchange of prisoners and the recovery of bodies – was breached hours later by Armenian missile attacks on Azerbaijan’s city of Ganja.

Upper Karabakh conflict

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.

Some 20% of Azerbaijan’s territory has remained under 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.

Many world powers have urged cessation of hostilities. Turkey, meanwhile, has supported Baku’s right to self-defense, and demanded the withdrawal of the invading forces.

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