Azerbaijani tank fighting in the South Caucasus (September 24th)
Photo: Azerbaijani Defense Ministry / Handout / picture alliance / AA
In the conflict region Nagorno-Karabakh in the South Caucasus, heavy fighting has broken out between the warring countries Azerbaijan and Armenia, according to both sides.
The Azerbaijani army suffered "heavy losses", the rebels reported on Sunday.
The Armenian Defense Ministry, which supports the rebels, reported the shooting down of two Azerbaijani military helicopters and three drones.
The rebels said that the Azerbaijani army had bombed the Nagorno-Karabakh region, which is largely inhabited by Armenians, early on Sunday morning.
Targets in the regional capital Stepanakert were also attacked.
Both sides blamed each other for the fighting.
The shelling began early in the morning from the Azerbaijani side, wrote the Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on Facebook.
"The entire responsibility for this lies with the military-political leadership of Azerbaijan," said the spokeswoman for the Defense Ministry of Armenia.
The Nagorno-Karabakh region, which is controlled by Armenia, is part of the Islamic region of Azerbaijan under international law.
Azerbaijan lost control of the area inhabited by Christian Karabakh Armenians in a war following the collapse of the Soviet Union.
A ceasefire has existed in the region since 1994, but it has been repeatedly broken.
In July there was heavy fighting on the border between the warring republics;
however, the fighting was hundreds of kilometers north of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Armenia relies on Russia as a protective power, which has stationed thousands of soldiers and weapons there.
Icon: The mirror
hej / dpa / AFP