STEPANAKERT — Karabakh Defense Army frontline troops have retaliated by targeting Azerbaijani forces which had fired five rockets towards one of its command points from an artillery position located within civilian population in the village of Alkhanli just southeast of Karabakh.
The NKR Defense Army accused the Azerbaijani military of using Alkhanli residents as a “human shield.” It also released a short video that purportedly shows two Azerbaijan rockets landing near Karabakh Armenian trenches overlooking the Azerbaijani village. It said it was the first time that the Azerbaijanis used Turkish-made TR-107 multiple-launch rocket systems since the April 2016 hostilities in and around Karabakh.
Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry said a 50-year-old woman and her 2-year-old granddaughter were killed on Tuesday. Another local resident, also a woman, was seriously wounded.
“If the enemy really suffered casualties among civilians, then we have to express regret,” said the Karabakh army commander, Lieutenant-General Levon Mnatsakanian. “At the same time I want to make clear that the armed forces of Artsakh (Karabakh) … will continue to fully exercise their right to defend themselves and, if need be, respond to the enemy’s offensive actions in a targeted and disproportionate manner.”
Mnatsakanian also warned Baku against resorting to “further military adventures,” saying that they would have “unpredictable consequences.”
Official Yerevan also blamed the Azerbaijani side for the deadly incident. Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian discussed it in phone conversations with the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs. Nalbandian’s press office said he briefed them on “the situation after the Azerbaijani provocation.”
The Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Tigran Balayan, said that in order to prevent further bloodshed Baku should comply with confidence-building agreements that were reached by Armenia’s and Azerbaijan’s presidents last year.