Tensions rose in the South Caucasus during the night of September 12-13. Azerbaijani forces fired heavy weapons at various positions on Armenian territory, along the international border around the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. Armenia announced a provisional figure of 49 dead.

With our regional correspondent, Régis Genté

On Tuesday, September 13, shortly after midnight, artillery and heavy weapons fire began on Armenian territory along the border with Azerbaijan, around the breakaway province of Nagorno-Karabakh. The Goris, Sotk and Jermuk regions were affected.

It was this landlocked region of Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan that was the subject of a 44-day war two years ago. The Azeris regained control of all the occupied territories around Nagorno-Karabakh and part of the province itself. The brief conflict left 6,500 dead and ended with a Russian-brokered ceasefire, a document Baku says is far from being implemented.

At least 49 Armenian soldiers killed

“At the moment, we have 49 (military) dead and unfortunately it is not the final figure,” Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan told parliament.

Azerbaijan acknowledged there were “casualties” in the clashes, which broke out overnight, but did not say exactly how many at this time.

This rise in tension is not really a surprise, although in recent months the Armenian Prime Minister and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev have made great strides towards a global peace agreement, led by the European Union. But the boreal summer was tense in and around Nagorno-Karabakh.

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