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International calls for restraint after dozens killed in new Nagorno-Karabakh clashes

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By Seamus Kearney
International calls for restraint after dozens killed in new Nagorno-Karabakh clashes

<p>Images from the Nagorno-Karabakh military reportedly show the aftermath of heavy fighting in the Armenian separatist enclave in Azerbaijan.</p> <p>The worst fighting in the region in decades erupted on Saturday, killing dozens of people and threatening to shatter a fragile truce. </p> <p>The Azeri Ministry of Defence claimed that six Armenian tanks were destroyed and more than 100 Armenian servicemen were killed and injured.</p> <p>It added that 12 Azeri soldiers had been killed. </p> <p>Armenia denied the figures given by Azerbaijan.</p> <p>It is still unclear how many of the casualties are civilians.</p> <p>Nagorno-Karabkh’s military claimed Armenian forces had shot down an Azeri helicopter. Baku later admitted that one of its Mi-24 helicopters had been struck down.</p> <p>The Armenian Defence Ministry said: “The enemy, using tanks, artillery and aviation made attempts to get deep into the defence lines of the Nagorno-Karabakh Army of Defence and capture tactical positions. The enemy was thwarted.” </p> <p>Armenia said 18 ethnic Armenians were killed and 35 injured. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Azerbaijan?src=hash">#Azerbaijan</a>'i helicopter MI-24 shot down by <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Karabakh?src=hash">#Karabakh</a> forces <a href="https://t.co/xn6dk4Ndin">pic.twitter.com/xn6dk4Ndin</a></p>— Karabakh <span class="caps">MFA</span> (@mfankr) <a href="https://twitter.com/mfankr/status/716312898277150724">April 2, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <p>The Azeri defence ministry claimed it had taken strategically important settlements, a claim denied by Armenia. </p> <p>Both sides reported civilian casualties, accusing one another of violating the 1994 ceasefire.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Azerbaijan?src=hash">#Azerbaijan</a> bombd <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Karabakh?src=hash">#Karabakh</a> civilian settlements.<br /> A video on effects & their losses<a href="https://t.co/DLiwUKuh1G">https://t.co/DLiwUKuh1G</a><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NKpeace?src=hash">#NKpeace</a> <a href="https://t.co/jKcxaPXu0Y">pic.twitter.com/jKcxaPXu0Y</a></p>— Karabakh <span class="caps">MOD</span> (@Karabakh_MoD) <a href="https://twitter.com/Karabakh_MoD/status/716288504116985858">April 2, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <p>Russia, a key mediator in the conflict, has stepped in, with President Vladimir Putin calling for both sides to observe the ceasefire to ‘avert new casualties’.</p> <p>Germany has also called for restraint.</p> <p>There have been frequent threats by Azerbaijan to take Nagorno-Karabakh back by force.</p> <p>It is unclear whether the clashes on Saturday marked a new phase in the conflict or merely a flare-up of tensions.</p> <p>The ethnic war which began in the late 1980s claimed the lives of 30,000 people before ending in 1994 with a ceasefire but no final settlement.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Azerbaijan says 12 soldiers killed in fighting with Armenian forces over the separatist Nagorno-Karabakh region: <a href="https://t.co/MhWcYSKTYS">https://t.co/MhWcYSKTYS</a></p>— The Associated Press (@AP) <a href="https://twitter.com/AP/status/716259893032914944">April 2, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Azerbaijan: Over 100 Armenian casualties in fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh <a href="https://t.co/8ynCyADyOh">https://t.co/8ynCyADyOh</a> <a href="https://t.co/4X3HQhTgis">pic.twitter.com/4X3HQhTgis</a></p>— Haaretz.com (@haaretzcom) <a href="https://twitter.com/haaretzcom/status/716279792816013312">April 2, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><span class="caps">VIDEO</span>: Fighting last night between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces in Nagorno-Karabakh – <a href="https://twitter.com/radiosvoboda"><code>radiosvoboda</a> <a href="https://t.co/UV7jz1ruAZ">https://t.co/UV7jz1ruAZ</a></p>&mdash; Conflict News (</code>Conflicts) <a href="https://twitter.com/Conflicts/status/716255149321269248">April 2, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>