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Azerbaijan and Armenian forces agreed to a ceasefire Wednesday following two days of fighting in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, an area that has been the source of long-standing conflict between the two nations, the Associated Press reported.
The ceasefire came after the Azerbaijani government launched an “anti-terrorist operation” in the Armenian-populated enclave inside Azerbaijan earlier this week. Azerbaijan accused neighboring Armenia of smuggling weapons into the territory, planting landmines, and engaging in sabotage.
Armenian officials denied the allegations, with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan countering that Azerbaijan’s main goal was to involve Armenia in the hostilities.
By Wednesday night, the death toll had reached at least 200, including 10 civilians, and more than 400 injured, the office of the Ombudsman in the Armenian-controlled territory said, according to CNN.
Following the truce announcement, Pashinyan noted a significant decrease in hostilities. Azerbaijani authorities also confirmed they had ceased military operations.
However, it remains unclear if fighting has completely stopped.
The ceasefire agreement calls for the withdrawal of Armenian military units and equipment from Nagorno-Karabakh and the disarmament of local defense forces. Pashinyan said his government didn’t take part in discussing or negotiating the deal, but “has taken note” of the decision made by the region’s separatist authorities.
The recent flare-up has raised concerns about another full-scale war in the region. The two countries have been locked in a struggle over Nagorno-Karabakh since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The most recent conflict ended in 2020 with a Russian-brokered truce that saw Armenia cede swathes of territory it had controlled since the 1990s.
Talks are scheduled Thursday between Azerbaijani officials and Nagorno-Karabakh’s ethnic Armenian authorities regarding its reintegration into Azerbaijan.
During the conflict, protests erupted in Armenia’s capital, Yerevan, with demonstrators demanding the protection of Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh. More demonstrations are expected to take place in Armenia, according to the Guardian.