ANKARA

The Turkish foreign minister on Monday said Armenian forces have been targeting civilians in recent tensions at the Azerbaijan-Armenia front line.

“Armenia directly targets civilians [in Azerbaijan] which is essentially a war crime,” said Mevlut Cavusoglu after meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in the capital Ankara.

NATO is “deeply concerned” over the Upper Karabakh conflict, and called for the peaceful solution of the dispute, Stoltenberg said for his part.

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

Upper Karabakh conflict

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

Multiple UN resolutions, as well as many international organizations, demand the withdrawal of the invading 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 upon in 1994.

Many world powers, including Russia, France and the US, have urged an immediate cease-fire. Turkey, meanwhile, has supported Baku’s right to self-defense.

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