ANKARA, MOSCOW 

Azerbaijan vowed Sunday a “befitting retaliation” against Armenia’s attacks which targeted Azerbaijani settlements despite a humanitarian cease-fire in place.

“The Armenian side aims to recapture the liberated territories. Armenia’s political-military leadership bears a responsibility for perpetrated crimes. The Azerbaijani side will give a befitting retaliation!” President Ilham Aliyev said on Twitter.

His remarks came right after an Armenian missile attack on Azerbaijan’s second largest city of Ganja, violating a temporary cease-fire on humanitarian grounds, at 2 a.m. local time on Sunday (2200GMT Saturday).

Dubbing the recent attack a “war crime,” Aliyev said it is also a “gross violation” of the Geneva Conventions.

At least nine people including four women were killed and 34 others were injured in the attack.

“It is a disrespect to the negotiations under Russia’s mediation and another embodiment of Armenian fascism. These heinous actions can never break the will of the Azerbaijani people!” he pledged.

Armenia’ attacks continued despite a humanitarian truce agreed on Saturday for the exchange of prisoners and retrieval of bodies in Upper Karabakh, or Nagorno-Karabakh, an internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan.

The armistice came after a trilateral meeting in Moscow on Friday between the foreign ministers of Russia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia.

‘Turkey should play greater role in our region’

The fresh clashes began on Sept. 27 when Armenian forces targeted civilian Azerbaijani settlements and military positions in the region, leading to casualties.

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 the withdrawal of Armenia’s occupying forces.

“[…] there can be no doubt that Turkey should and will play an important role in the settlement of the conflict. In what form – legal or de facto – this is already a technical question,” Aliyev said in an interview with the Russian channel RBC TV.

Stressing Turkey’s stabilizing role in the region and worldwide, he said that the active and very clear position of the Turkish leadership during the escalation essentially prevented the intervention of third countries in the conflict.

Drawing to the successful military operations of Azerbaijan, Aliyev said in the last two weeks they destroyed Armenian hardware probably worth billions of dollars and asked: “Where did they get this money? They don’t have it. These are all free deliveries from Russia.”

“Even the Armenian border with Turkey and Iran is guarded by Russian border troops. If it wasn’t for this, it would be empty,” he added.

He went on saying: “Russia certainly has a lot of tools to quickly convince Armenia that the only way out of the situation – and not only in terms of military confrontation but also for the future of Armenia in general – is to find a solution together with Azerbaijan.”

“And it is quite simple – leave the territory, withdraw the troops, our people will return there and we will try to live side by side again,” he added.

Since the clashes has began, as many as 41 Azerbaijani civilians have been killed and more than 200 injured.

Some 1,165 houses, 57 residential and commercial buildings, and 146 public buildings have also been destroyed or damaged, the Azerbaijani officials said.

Meanwhile, Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry said their army repulsed Armenian attacks throughout the night.

Upper Karabakh conflict

Relations between the two former Soviet republics have been tense since 1991 when the Armenian military occupied Upper Karabakh.

The fresh clashes began when Armenian forces targeted civilian Azerbaijani settlements and military positions in the region, leading to casualties.

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 the withdrawal of Armenia’s occupying forces.

Four UN Security Council and two UN General Assembly resolutions, as well as many international organizations, demand the withdrawal of the occupying 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, however, was agreed to in 1994.

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