As the conflict enters its 25th day, the death toll of Azerbaijani civilians reached 63 as Armenian attacks continue to target civilian settlements both near the frontline in occupied Nagorno-Karabakh and elsewhere in the country.
While injuring 292 others, the attacks also caused heavy material damage in the region as 1,981 houses, 90 buildings and 386 public buildings have become unusable.
The Armenian attacks have not been left unresponded to as Azerbaijan has also caused heavy blows to the Armenian Army. On Tuesday, an Armenian battalion of 400 soldiers was nearly wiped out, the Azerbaijani defense ministry announced.
The Azerbaijani Army on Tuesday also ended the 27-year Armenian occupation of the Karabakh city of Zangilan, President Ilham Aliyev confirmed.
The army reportedly liberated six villages in Fuzuli, seven villages in Jabrayil, five villages in Khojavend and six villages in Zangilan from Armenian occupation.
The defense ministry added that Azerbaijan shot down four Armenian unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
"On October 21, from 12:55 to 13:30 [0855-0930GMT], Azerbaijan Air Defense Units determined and destroyed three more tactical unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) of the Armenian armed forces," the ministry said in a statement.
"The two UAVs were destroyed in the Fizuli direction, and one in the Terter [Tartar] direction of the front," it added.
In an earlier statement, the ministry said: "On October 21, at about 12:00 [0800GMT], Azerbaijan Air Defense Units destroyed another UAV of the Armenian armed forces in the Horadiz direction."
The forces had also destroyed two Armenian drones on Tuesday, which were taken down in two different locations, according to the ministry.
The first UAV was destroyed in the direction of Ganja city, while the second was downed over the village of Tapgaragoyunlu in the Goranboy region, the ministry said in two separate statements.
The clashes over Armenian-occupied Nagorno-Karabakh that erupted on Sept. 27 have left more than 700 dead, according to official tolls, but the real number may be much higher.
Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed to a new cease-fire, which was supposed to have taken effect last week. However, it again failed to hold for even 24 hours as Yerevan engaged in renewed violations.
In two missile attacks on Ganja, a major Azerbaijani city far from the front line, Armenia killed some two dozen civilians, including children, and injured scores more.
Last Thursday, Armenia also targeted civilians at a cemetery in the western city of Tartar, killing four and injuring four others.
Over the past 10 days, Armenia has violated two humanitarian cease-fires in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Meanwhile, as the clashes resume, Armenian President Armen Sarkissian left for Brussels to discuss the conflict with NATO and European Union officials, his office said on Wednesday.
During the visit he will meet NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell and European Council President Charles Michel, it said.
Armenia expects NATO and EU leaders to do "everything possible" to stop the fighting and to "bring to life" a cease-fire deal, it said.
Four resolutions from the U.N. Security Council (UNSC) and two from the U.N. General Assembly (UNGA), as well as international organizations, demand the “immediate complete and unconditional withdrawal of the occupying forces” from occupied Azerbaijani territory.
In total, about 20% of Azerbaijan's territory – including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions – has been under illegal Armenian occupation for nearly three decades.
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group – co-chaired by France, Russia and the United States – 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.
World powers, including Russia, France and the U.S., have called for a new cease-fire. Turkey, meanwhile, has supported Baku's right to self-defense and demanded the withdrawal of Armenia's occupying forces.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and French counterpart Emmanuel Macron discussed the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh during a phone call, their offices said in statements on Tuesday.
The two leaders said they agreed that the two South Caucasian countries should relaunch “substantial negotiations,” the Elysee said.
Following the statements from Putin and Macron, on Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held two separate meetings with his Armenian and Azerbaijani counterparts in Moscow to discuss the implementation of a cease-fire.
"During the talks, urgent issues related to the implementation of previously reached agreements on a cease-fire in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone and the creation of conditions for its sustainable settlement were discussed," the Rssian foreign ministry said in a statement, following Lavrov's meeting with Zohrab Mnatsakanyan and Jeyhun Bayramov.
Armenia and Azerbaijan also said Tuesday their foreign ministers would meet U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington on Friday in efforts to end the fighting.
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