Armenia, Azerbaijan announce new attempt at cease-fire

  • A neighbour comforts home owner, Lida Sarksyan, left, near her house destroyed by shelling from Azerbaijan's artillery during a military conflict in Stepanakert, the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. The latest outburst of fighting between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces began Sept. 27 and marked the biggest escalation of the decades-old conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. The region lies in Azerbaijan but has been under control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since the end of a separatist war in 1994.

    A neighbour comforts home owner, Lida Sarksyan, left, near her house destroyed by shelling from Azerbaijan's artillery during a military conflict in Stepanakert, the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. The latest outburst of fighting between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces began Sept. 27 and marked the biggest escalation of the decades-old conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. The region lies in Azerbaijan but has been under control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since the end of a separatist war in 1994. Associated Press

  • A man shows a photo to a journalist, sitting in his house as soldiers and firefighters search for survivors in a residential area that was hit by rocket fire overnight by Armenian forces, early Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020, in Ganja, Azerbaijan's second largest city, near the border with Armenia. Azerbaijan has accused Armenia of striking its second-largest city with a ballistic missile that killed at least 13 civilians and wounded 50 others in a new escalation of their conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh.

    A man shows a photo to a journalist, sitting in his house as soldiers and firefighters search for survivors in a residential area that was hit by rocket fire overnight by Armenian forces, early Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020, in Ganja, Azerbaijan's second largest city, near the border with Armenia. Azerbaijan has accused Armenia of striking its second-largest city with a ballistic missile that killed at least 13 civilians and wounded 50 others in a new escalation of their conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. Associated Press

  • Soldiers and firefighters search for survivors in a residential area that was hit by rocket fire overnight by Armenian forces, early Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020, in Gyanga, Azerbaijan's second largest city, near the border with Armenia.

    Soldiers and firefighters search for survivors in a residential area that was hit by rocket fire overnight by Armenian forces, early Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020, in Gyanga, Azerbaijan's second largest city, near the border with Armenia. Associated Press

  • Soldiers and firefighters search for survivors in a residential area that was hit by rocket fire overnight by Armenian forces, early Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020, in Gyanga, Azerbaijan's second largest city, near the border with Armenia.

    Soldiers and firefighters search for survivors in a residential area that was hit by rocket fire overnight by Armenian forces, early Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020, in Gyanga, Azerbaijan's second largest city, near the border with Armenia. Associated Press

  • An Azerbaijan's policeman, left, speaks to a man siting at his destroyed house in a residential area that was hit by rocket fire overnight by Armenian forces, early Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020, in Ganja, Azerbaijan's second largest city, near the border with Armenia.

    An Azerbaijan's policeman, left, speaks to a man siting at his destroyed house in a residential area that was hit by rocket fire overnight by Armenian forces, early Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020, in Ganja, Azerbaijan's second largest city, near the border with Armenia. Associated Press

  • Soldiers and firefighters search for survivors in a residential area that was hit by rocket fire overnight by Armenian forces, early Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020, in Gyanga, Azerbaijan's second largest city, near the border with Armenia.

    Soldiers and firefighters search for survivors in a residential area that was hit by rocket fire overnight by Armenian forces, early Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020, in Gyanga, Azerbaijan's second largest city, near the border with Armenia. Associated Press

  • A man sits in his destroyed house in a residential area that was hit by rocket fire overnight by Armenian forces, early Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020, in Gyanga, Azerbaijan's second largest city, near the border with Armenia.

    A man sits in his destroyed house in a residential area that was hit by rocket fire overnight by Armenian forces, early Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020, in Gyanga, Azerbaijan's second largest city, near the border with Armenia. Associated Press

  • An Azerbaijan's officer shows a family pictures to journalists as soldiers and firefighters search for survivors in a residential area that was hit by rocket fire overnight by Armenian forces, early Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020, in Gyanga,  Azerbaijan's second largest city, near the border with Armenia.

    An Azerbaijan's officer shows a family pictures to journalists as soldiers and firefighters search for survivors in a residential area that was hit by rocket fire overnight by Armenian forces, early Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020, in Gyanga, Azerbaijan's second largest city, near the border with Armenia. Associated Press

  • A man stands in a yard of his destroyed house in a residential area that was hit by rocket fire overnight by Armenian forces, early Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020, in Gyanga, Azerbaijan's second largest city, near the border with Armenia.

    A man stands in a yard of his destroyed house in a residential area that was hit by rocket fire overnight by Armenian forces, early Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020, in Gyanga, Azerbaijan's second largest city, near the border with Armenia. Associated Press

  • People react as Azerbaijani soldiers and firefighters were trying to save survivors from destroyed houses in a residential area in Ganja, Azerbaijan's second largest city, near the border with Armenia, after rocket fires overnight by Armenian forces for second time in a week, early Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. A Russian attempt to broker a cease-fire to end the worst outbreak of hostilities over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh in more than a quarter-century has failed to get any traction, with rivals Azerbaijan and Armenia trading blame for new attacks. (Ismail Coskun/IHA via AP)

    People react as Azerbaijani soldiers and firefighters were trying to save survivors from destroyed houses in a residential area in Ganja, Azerbaijan's second largest city, near the border with Armenia, after rocket fires overnight by Armenian forces for second time in a week, early Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. A Russian attempt to broker a cease-fire to end the worst outbreak of hostilities over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh in more than a quarter-century has failed to get any traction, with rivals Azerbaijan and Armenia trading blame for new attacks. (Ismail Coskun/IHA via AP) Associated Press

  • Azerbaijani soldiers and firefighters try to save survivors from destroyed houses in a residential area in Ganja, Azerbaijan's second largest city, near the border with Armenia, after rocked fires overnight by Armenian forces for second time in a week, early Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. Azerbaijan has accused Armenia of striking its second-largest city with a ballistic missile that killed at least 13 civilians and wounded 50 others in a new escalation of their conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh.

    Azerbaijani soldiers and firefighters try to save survivors from destroyed houses in a residential area in Ganja, Azerbaijan's second largest city, near the border with Armenia, after rocked fires overnight by Armenian forces for second time in a week, early Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. Azerbaijan has accused Armenia of striking its second-largest city with a ballistic missile that killed at least 13 civilians and wounded 50 others in a new escalation of their conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. Associated Press

  • Yury Melkonyan, 64, sits in his house damaged by shelling from Azerbaijan's artillery during a military conflict in Shosh village outside Stepanakert, the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. The latest outburst of fighting between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces began Sept. 27 and marked the biggest escalation of the decades-old conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. The region lies in Azerbaijan but has been under control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since the end of a separatist war in 1994.

    Yury Melkonyan, 64, sits in his house damaged by shelling from Azerbaijan's artillery during a military conflict in Shosh village outside Stepanakert, the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. The latest outburst of fighting between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces began Sept. 27 and marked the biggest escalation of the decades-old conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. The region lies in Azerbaijan but has been under control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since the end of a separatist war in 1994. Associated Press

  • Yury Melkonyan, 64, examines his house damaged by shelling from Azerbaijan's artillery during a military conflict in Shosh village outside Stepanakert, the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. The latest outburst of fighting between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces began Sept. 27 and marked the biggest escalation of the decades-old conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. The region lies in Azerbaijan but has been under control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since the end of a separatist war in 1994.

    Yury Melkonyan, 64, examines his house damaged by shelling from Azerbaijan's artillery during a military conflict in Shosh village outside Stepanakert, the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. The latest outburst of fighting between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces began Sept. 27 and marked the biggest escalation of the decades-old conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. The region lies in Azerbaijan but has been under control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since the end of a separatist war in 1994. Associated Press

  • A hotel room is destroyed aftervshelling by Azerbaijan's artillery during a military conflict in Stepanakert, the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. The latest outburst of fighting between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces began Sept. 27 and marked the biggest escalation of the decades-old conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. The region lies in Azerbaijan but has been under control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since the end of a separatist war in 1994.

    A hotel room is destroyed aftervshelling by Azerbaijan's artillery during a military conflict in Stepanakert, the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. The latest outburst of fighting between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces began Sept. 27 and marked the biggest escalation of the decades-old conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. The region lies in Azerbaijan but has been under control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since the end of a separatist war in 1994. Associated Press

  • A view of a window of a clothing store, hit by shelling, during a military conflict in Stepanakert in the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. Stepanakert, the regional capital of Nagorno-Karabakh, came under intense shelling overnight, leaving three civilians wounded, according to separatist authorities. (David Ghahramanyan, NKR InfoCenter/PAN Photo via AP)

    A view of a window of a clothing store, hit by shelling, during a military conflict in Stepanakert in the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. Stepanakert, the regional capital of Nagorno-Karabakh, came under intense shelling overnight, leaving three civilians wounded, according to separatist authorities. (David Ghahramanyan, NKR InfoCenter/PAN Photo via AP) Associated Press

  • Nurses administer medicine to a patient wounded from shelling by Azerbaijan's artillery in a hospital, during a military conflict in Stepanakert, the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. The latest outburst of fighting between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces began Sept. 27 and marked the biggest escalation of the decades-old conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. The region lies in Azerbaijan but has been under control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since the end of a separatist war in 1994.

    Nurses administer medicine to a patient wounded from shelling by Azerbaijan's artillery in a hospital, during a military conflict in Stepanakert, the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. The latest outburst of fighting between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces began Sept. 27 and marked the biggest escalation of the decades-old conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. The region lies in Azerbaijan but has been under control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since the end of a separatist war in 1994. Associated Press

  • Nurses administer medicine to a patient wounded from shelling by Azerbaijan's artillery in a hospital, during a military conflict in Stepanakert, the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. The latest outburst of fighting between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces began Sept. 27 and marked the biggest escalation of the decades-old conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. The region lies in Azerbaijan but has been under control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since the end of a separatist war in 1994.

    Nurses administer medicine to a patient wounded from shelling by Azerbaijan's artillery in a hospital, during a military conflict in Stepanakert, the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. The latest outburst of fighting between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces began Sept. 27 and marked the biggest escalation of the decades-old conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. The region lies in Azerbaijan but has been under control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since the end of a separatist war in 1994. Associated Press

  • A nurse changes the bandage of a man wounded from shelling by Azerbaijan's artillery in a hospital, during a military conflict in Stepanakert, the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. The latest outburst of fighting between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces began Sept. 27 and marked the biggest escalation of the decades-old conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. The region lies in Azerbaijan but has been under control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since the end of a separatist war in 1994.

    A nurse changes the bandage of a man wounded from shelling by Azerbaijan's artillery in a hospital, during a military conflict in Stepanakert, the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. The latest outburst of fighting between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces began Sept. 27 and marked the biggest escalation of the decades-old conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. The region lies in Azerbaijan but has been under control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since the end of a separatist war in 1994. Associated Press

  • People attend the funeral prayers for three members of an Azerbaijani Turkish family, Royal Shahnazarov, his wife Zuleyxa Shahnazarova and their one-year-old baby girl Madina, who were killed by overnight shelling by Armenian forces in Ganja, Azerbaijan, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. Azerbaijan has accused Armenia of striking its second-largest city with a ballistic missile that killed at least 13 civilians and wounded 50 others in a new escalation of their conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. (Can Erok/DHA via AP)

    People attend the funeral prayers for three members of an Azerbaijani Turkish family, Royal Shahnazarov, his wife Zuleyxa Shahnazarova and their one-year-old baby girl Madina, who were killed by overnight shelling by Armenian forces in Ganja, Azerbaijan, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. Azerbaijan has accused Armenia of striking its second-largest city with a ballistic missile that killed at least 13 civilians and wounded 50 others in a new escalation of their conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. (Can Erok/DHA via AP) Associated Press

  • Timur Haligov, an Azerbaijani Turkish father embraces the body of his 10-month-old baby girl, Narin, who was killed by overnight shelling by Armenian forces. during a funeral ceremony, in Ganja, Azerbaijan, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. Azerbaijan has accused Armenia of striking its second-largest city with a ballistic missile that killed at least 13 civilians and wounded 50 others in a new escalation of their conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. (Can Erok/DHA via AP)

    Timur Haligov, an Azerbaijani Turkish father embraces the body of his 10-month-old baby girl, Narin, who was killed by overnight shelling by Armenian forces. during a funeral ceremony, in Ganja, Azerbaijan, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. Azerbaijan has accused Armenia of striking its second-largest city with a ballistic missile that killed at least 13 civilians and wounded 50 others in a new escalation of their conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. (Can Erok/DHA via AP) Associated Press

  • A soldier walks past a destroyed house in a residential area that was hit by rocket fire overnight by Armenian forces, early Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020, in Ganja, Azerbaijan's second largest city, near the border with Armenia. Azerbaijan has accused Armenia of striking its second-largest city with a ballistic missile that killed at least 13 civilians and wounded 50 others in a new escalation of their conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh.

    A soldier walks past a destroyed house in a residential area that was hit by rocket fire overnight by Armenian forces, early Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020, in Ganja, Azerbaijan's second largest city, near the border with Armenia. Azerbaijan has accused Armenia of striking its second-largest city with a ballistic missile that killed at least 13 civilians and wounded 50 others in a new escalation of their conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. Associated Press

  • An Azerbaijani soldier tries to comfort a man amongst debris as they try to find survivors from destroyed houses in a residential area in Ganja, Azerbaijan's second largest city, near the border with Armenia, after rocket fire overnight by Armenian forces for second time in a week, early Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. Azerbaijan has accused Armenia of striking its second-largest city with a ballistic missile that killed at least 13 civilians and wounded 50 others in a new escalation of their conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. (Ismail Coskun/IHA via AP)

    An Azerbaijani soldier tries to comfort a man amongst debris as they try to find survivors from destroyed houses in a residential area in Ganja, Azerbaijan's second largest city, near the border with Armenia, after rocket fire overnight by Armenian forces for second time in a week, early Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. Azerbaijan has accused Armenia of striking its second-largest city with a ballistic missile that killed at least 13 civilians and wounded 50 others in a new escalation of their conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. (Ismail Coskun/IHA via AP) Associated Press

  • Azerbaijani soldiers and firefighters look for survivors from destroyed houses in a residential area in Ganja, Azerbaijan's second largest city, near the border with Armenia, after rocket fire overnight by Armenian forces for second time in a week, early Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. Azerbaijan has accused Armenia of striking its second-largest city with a ballistic missile that killed at least 13 civilians and wounded 50 others in a new escalation of their conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. (Can Erok/DHA via AP)

    Azerbaijani soldiers and firefighters look for survivors from destroyed houses in a residential area in Ganja, Azerbaijan's second largest city, near the border with Armenia, after rocket fire overnight by Armenian forces for second time in a week, early Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. Azerbaijan has accused Armenia of striking its second-largest city with a ballistic missile that killed at least 13 civilians and wounded 50 others in a new escalation of their conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. (Can Erok/DHA via AP) Associated Press

  • A man stands near his neighbour's house destroyed by shelling by Azerbaijan's artillery during a military conflict in Stepanakert, the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. The latest outburst of fighting between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces began Sept. 27 and marked the biggest escalation of the decades-old conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. The region lies in Azerbaijan but has been under control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since the end of a separatist war in 1994.

    A man stands near his neighbour's house destroyed by shelling by Azerbaijan's artillery during a military conflict in Stepanakert, the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. The latest outburst of fighting between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces began Sept. 27 and marked the biggest escalation of the decades-old conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. The region lies in Azerbaijan but has been under control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since the end of a separatist war in 1994. Associated Press

  • A man stands near a house destroyed by shelling from Azerbaijan's artillery during a military conflict in Stepanakert, the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. The latest outburst of fighting between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces began Sept. 27 and marked the biggest escalation of the decades-old conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. The region lies in Azerbaijan but has been under control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since the end of a separatist war in 1994.

    A man stands near a house destroyed by shelling from Azerbaijan's artillery during a military conflict in Stepanakert, the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. The latest outburst of fighting between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces began Sept. 27 and marked the biggest escalation of the decades-old conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. The region lies in Azerbaijan but has been under control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since the end of a separatist war in 1994. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 10/17/2020 7:08 PM

BAKU, Azerbaijan -- Armenia and Azerbaijan on Saturday announced a new attempt to establish a cease-fire in their conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh starting from midnight, a move that comes a week after a Russia-brokered truce frayed immediately after it took force.

The new agreement was announced following Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's calls with his counterparts from the two nations, in which he strongly urged them to abide by the Moscow deal. There were no immediate claims of violations after the truce took effect at midnight.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Nagorno-Karabakh lies within Azerbaijan but has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since a war there ended in 1994. The latest fighting that began on Sept. 27 has involved heavy artillery, rockets and drones, killing hundreds in the largest escalation of hostilities between the South Caucasus neighbors in more than a quarter-century.

Russia, which has a security pact with Armenia but has cultivated warm ties with Azerbaijan, hosted top diplomats from both countries for more than 10 hours of talks that ended with the initial cease-fire agreement. But the deal frayed immediately after the truce took effect last Saturday, with both sides blaming each other for breaching it.

The full-scale fighting continued to rage through the week.

In a new escalation, Azerbaijan on Saturday accused Armenia of striking its second-largest city with a ballistic missile that killed at least 13 civilians and wounded 50 others.

The Armenian Defense Ministry denied launching the strike, but the separatist authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh put out a statement listing alleged 'úlegitimate'Ě military facilities in the city of Ganja, although they stopped short of claiming responsibility for the attack.

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Azerbaijani officials said the Soviet-made Scud missile destroyed or damaged about 20 residential buildings in Ganja overnight, and emergency workers spent hours searching in the rubble for victims and survivors.

Scud missiles date back to the 1960s and carry a big load of explosives but are known for their lack of precision.

In a televised address to the nation, Azerbaijan's president, Ilham Aliyev, denounced the missile strike as a war crime and warned the leadership of Armenia that it would face responsibility.

'úAzerbaijan will give its response and it will do so exclusively on the battlefield,'Ě Aliyev said.

While authorities in Azerbaijan and Armenia have denied targeting civilians, residential areas have increasingly come under shelling amid the hostilities.

Stepanakert, the regional capital of Nagorno-Karabakh, came under intense shelling overnight, leaving three civilians wounded, according to separatist authorities.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Aliyev announced that Azerbaijani forces have taken the town of Fizuli and seven villages around it, gaining a 'ústrategic edge.'Ě Fizuli is one of the seven Azerbaijani regions outside Nagorno-Karabakh that was seized by the Armenian forces during the war in the early 1990s.

Azerbaijani authorities said 60 civilians have been killed and 270 have been wounded since Sept. 27, but they haven't revealed military losses. Separatist authorities said over 600 Nagorno-Karabakh soldiers and 36 civilians have been killed.

Azerbaijan has insisted it has the right to reclaim its land by force after efforts by the so-called Minsk group of international mediators that comprises Russia, the United States and France failed to yield any progress after nearly three decades. Azerbaijan has actively pushed for its ally Turkey to take a prominent role in future peace talks.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar spoke on the phone with his Azerbaijani counterpart, congratulating Azerbaijan on 'úliberating Fizuli from the occupation'Ě and downing Armenian jets.

The Azerbaijani military declared Saturday that they downed an Armenian Su-25 jet, a claim quickly dismissed by Armenia's Defense Ministry.

The Armenian military said they downed three Azerbaijani drones over the territory of Armenia on Saturday. Azerbaijan denied that.

Drones and rocket systems supplied by Turkey have given the Azerbaijani military an edge on the battlefield, helping them outgun the Armenian forces that rely mostly on outdated Soviet-era weapons.

___

Associated Press writers Avet Demourian in Yerevan, Armenia; Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow and Zeynep Bilginsoy in Istanbul, Turkey, contributed to this report.

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