‘There is no way out’: Nagorno-Karabakh residents fear new outbreak of war

© Twitter / @marutvanian

Residents of Nagorno-Karabakh – disputed by Armenia and Azerbaijan – took shelter in basements on September 19 as the Azerbaijani defence ministry launched a military operation, demanding the total withdrawal of Armenian forces from the region. Fears of a fresh war have been building recently, as Armenia has accused Azerbaijan of amassing troops and blockading the country’s only corridor into the breakaway region. A resident of Stepanakert, the capital of Nagorno-Karabakh, told us more.

Azerbaijan launched a military operation Tuesday in Nagorno-Karabakh, three years after a previous war broke out in the region. The country has demanded the “total and unconditional” withdrawal of Armenian forces from the contested breakaway region.

"Localised anti-terrorist measures have been launched in the region," Baku's defence ministry said in a statement, adding that it had opened corridors to allow civilians to leave.

The fighting came just hours after Azerbaijan said that four of its police officers and two civilians were killed in mine blasts in Nagorno-Karabakh. Authorities blamed Armenian separatist groups.

Armenian separatists have said that two civilians have been killed and at least 23 others wounded in the fighting, despite Azeri promises that they would only act against military targets.

Videos shared on social media show smoke rising near Stepanakert, as explosions are heard in the background. Like these videos, filmed by Marut Vanyan, a freelance journalist in Nagorno-Karabakh.

'All the people who have air-raid shelters have taken refuge'

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