FIZULI, Azerbaijan

The Turkish Red Crescent (Kizilay) has started the distribution of humanitarian aid in the Azerbaijani city of Fizuli on Friday.

Kaan Saner, director of the Turkish Red Crescent’s International Policies and Partnerships, told Anadolu Agency that they started to distribute aid in cities close to the conflict zone after the call for emergency aid.

Saner said that the relief supplies will be distributed to cities affected by the conflict over the past three days, adding that the first stop is Fizuli and then aid will be distributed in Agjabedi, Aghdam and Tartar, which is the most affected.

Earlier, the aid convoy of the Turkish Red Crescent carrying relief supplies to the Azerbaijani people, who have been affected by Armenian attacks, had arrived in the capital Baku.

The convoy carrying 250 disaster tents, 3,000 blankets, 500 beds and 288 kitchen sets, set out from Turkey’s capital Ankara on Oct. 9.

The Turkish Red Crescent is the largest humanitarian organization in Turkey, with an international network to help nations in need.

Clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia erupted on Sept. 27 and since then Armenia has continued attacks on civilians and Azerbaijani forces.

A humanitarian cease-fire came into force last Saturday but has been repeatedly violated by Armenian forces.

Armenia even launched a missile strike on Azerbaijan’s second-largest city, Ganja – an area far from the front line – on Sunday, killing at least 10 people and injuring 35, including women and children.

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 illegal Armenian occupation for some three decades.

Multiple UN resolutions, as well as 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.

Turkey has consistently supported Baku’s right to self-defense and demanded the withdrawal of Armenia’s occupying forces.

* Writing by Seda Sevencan

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