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Armenia and Azerbaijan mourn dead on anniversary of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

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By Euronews  with AFP
The six-week conflict last year resulted in more 6,500 deaths.
The six-week conflict last year resulted in more 6,500 deaths.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Emrah Gurel

Armenia and Azerbaijan have paid tribute to the thousands of victims of their conflict for control of the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Commemorations were held in both countries to mark the first anniversary of the fresh outbreak of fighting.

Armenia and Azerbaijan each observed a minute's silence on Monday and held religious ceremonies.

"Our martyrs will remain forever in our hearts," said Ilham Aliyev, Azerbaijani president, in a speech to the nation.

Thousands of soldiers later marched through Baku, carrying portraits of their fallen comrades.

In Armenia, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan laid flowers at graves in a military cemetery in the capital Yerevan, and then visited a hospital for the war-wounded.

"I bow to the memory of the dead and their families," Armenian President Armen Sarkissian added on Facebook.

On Sunday evening, nearly 3,000 Armenians, carrying torches, also marched from central Yerevan to a memorial.

Conflict once again broke out over the mountainous Nagorno-Karabakh region last September, with each side accusing the other of being responsible.

More than 6,500 people were killed in the six weeks of fighting, which ended in a Russian-brokered ceasefire agreement, granting Azerbaijan part of the enclave and surrounding areas.

Tensions have remained high between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and clashes regularly break out on the border, raising fears of a new conflict.