At least 30 killed as old foes clash
At least 30 soldiers and a boy were reported killed as heavy fighting erupted yesterday between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces over the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh.
The fighting was the worst outbreak since a full-scale war over the region ended in 1994. Since then, mountainous Nagorno-Karabakh - officially part of Azerbaijan - has been under the control of local ethnic Armenian forces and the Armenian military.
Armenian forces also occupy several areas outside Nagorno-Karabakh proper. The sides are separated by a demilitarised buffer zone, but small clashes have broken out frequently.
Each side blamed the other for yesterday's escalation.
In a statement, Azerbaijan's Defence Ministry said 12 of its soldiers "became shahids" - Muslim martyrs - and said one of its helicopters was shot down.
The statement also claimed that more than 100 Armenian forces were killed or wounded and that six tanks and 15 artillery positions were destroyed.
18 SOLDIERS KILLED
Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan told his national security council that 18 Armenian soldiers were killed and 35 wounded.
Armenia earlier claimed to have inflicted heavy damage on Azerbaijani forces, but did not immediately give figures. A statement from the Nagorno-Karabakh defence ministry claimed that more than 200 Azerbaijani soldiers were killed, but there was no corroboration for that figure.