Azerbaijani army enters Kalbajar region

TEHRAN, Nov. 25 (MNA) – Azerbaijan’s military forces have entered another region in Nagarno-Karabakh that was handed over to Baku under a ceasefire that ended weeks of fierce fighting in the disputed region.

The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday that army units had entered the Kalbajar District.

“Engineering work has been completed to ensure the movement of our units in this direction; the difficult mountain roads along the route of the troops’ movement are being cleared of mines and prepared for use,” it added, Press TV reported.

The deployment came after an additional ten-day deadline came to an end for Armenia to pull out its forces and civilians from the region, according to Azerbaijani presidential aide Hikmet Hajiyev.

Karabakh is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, but it has been held by ethnic Armenian separatists backed by Armenia since 1992 when they broke from Azerbaijan in a war that killed some 30,000 people.

This year’s fighting, the worst in decades, started in late September and came to an end earlier this month after Moscow brokered the ceasefire, which leaves Baku largely in control of the territory.

Under the truce deal, Russia and Turkey, which is an ally of Azerbaijan, agreed to establish a joint center in Karabakh and deploy peacekeeping forces to monitor the ceasefire in the mountainous region.

Russia will be sending 1,960 peacekeepers as well as armored personnel carriers and other military equipment to monitor the truce deal. The Russian deployment has already started.

Ankara also said earlier this week that preparations for its troops to be dispatched to Azerbaijan had been completed.

The center, according to the agreement, is located on Azerbaijani territory.

MR/PR

News Code 166338

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