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4 Oct, 2020 13:48

As war continues, Turkey claims Armenia has violated international humanitarian law by shelling Azerbaijan’s second-largest city

As war continues, Turkey claims Armenia has violated international humanitarian law by shelling Azerbaijan’s second-largest city

Turkey, the primary backer of Baku in the ongoing Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, has accused Armenia of targeting Ganja, Azerbaijan’s second city, with strikes. Ankara also insisted Yerevan has violated the Geneva Conventions.

The attacks on Ganja, home to roughly 332,000 people, are “a new manifestation of Armenia's unlawful attitude,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry commented on Sunday. The city endured a string of rocket artillery strikes earlier on Sunday, with projectiles causing damage to numerous buildings and setting off fires.

“Facing defeat in the territories of Azerbaijan it occupies, Armenia violates all principles of humanitarian law, especially the Geneva Conventions,” the ministry said in a statement, referring to the legally binding agreements which prohibit targeting civilians in wartime and mandate signatories to avoid injuring non-combatants at all cost.   

Earlier, Baku said one civilian had been killed and 32 wounded in the city, accusing Armenia of shelling Ganja from inside its own territory. Yerevan has dismissed the allegations. In a separate twist, it claimed Azerbaijani forces fired rockets at Stepanakert, Nagorno-Karabakh's capital, where casualties were reported earlier in the day.

Nagorno-Karabakh, an ethnic Armenian-populated enclave landlocked inside Azerbaijani territory, unilaterally ceded from Baku back in the early 1990s following a major war. The Azeris insist the region was illegally occupied.

A major military confrontation between Yerevan and Baku broke out last Sunday. Since then, Ankara has expressed its unwavering support for “brotherly” Azerbaijan, offering both military and diplomatic assistance. Turkish leaders have also brushed aside calls for talks from France, Russia and the US – the countries leading the international effort in the Karabakh peace process – insisting that only an Armenian withdrawal from the disputed region can end the fighting.

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