ANKARA

The occupying Armenian forces launched incessant overnight attacks on Azerbaijan’s army positions and civilian settlements in continued violation of the cease-fire, according to local authorities on Monday.

The Armenian sides used small arms, howitzers and mortars in the attacks, Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry said.

The combat operations in the Aghdere, Aghdam, Khojavend, and Gubadli districts continued with varying intensity, it added.

Earlier on Sunday, the Azerbaijani forces launched major attacks on the Armenian side forcing them to “retreat suffering heavy casualties”.

A large number of Armenian troops were targeted, the statement said.

Also, a T-72 tank, a D-30 howitzer, a mortar and a military truck were destroyed.

Noting that the combat operations are ongoing, the ministry underlined that the situation is under the control of Azerbaijani army.

The Azerbaijani army also repulsed mortar attacks by the 10th mountain rifle division of the Armenian army on Ulu Garabey settlement of Tartar region, it added.

On Sunday, President Ilham Aliyev announced the liberation of Shusha, which has been under Armenian occupation for over 28 years.

Shusha — which was occupied by Armenian forces on May 8, 1992 — has critical importance in liberating Nagorno-Karabakh, or Upper Karabakh region, which is an internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan. It is located on the road to Khankendi, the region’s largest city.

Conflict

Relations between the two former Soviet republics over Karabakh remain tense since 1991 but fresh clashes broke out on Sept. 27.

Thereafter, Armenia has repeatedly attacked Azerbaijani civilians and forces, even violating three humanitarian cease-fire agreements.

At least 93 Azerbaijani civilians have lost their lives, including 11 children and infants, according to the country’s Chief Prosecutor’s Office. As many as 407 people, including at least 36 children, have also been injured.

Some 3,326 houses and 120 multi-apartment residential buildings have been destroyed, while 504 civilian facilities have been damaged.

Since the operations began on Sept. 27, the Azerbaijani army liberated several city centers and settlements, as well as over 220 villages and some strategic heights from the occupation of Armenian forces.

About 20% of Azerbaijan’s territory – including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions – has been under Armenian occupation for nearly three decades.

Four UN Security Council resolutions and two from the UN General Assembly as well as international organizations demand the “immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of the occupying forces” from the Azerbaijani territory.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe also refers to the territory as being under the occupation of Armenian forces.

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (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.

While world powers have called for a sustainable cease-fire, Turkey has supported Baku’s right to self-defense and demanded the withdrawal of Armenia’s occupying forces.

Copyright 2021 Anadolu Agency. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.