GENEVA, September 27. /TASS/. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has called on the conflicting parties to observe the principles of humanitarian law in Nagorno-Karabakh.
"Red Cross (ICRC) is concerned about the humanitarian impact of the conflict escalation along the line of contact, which started in the morning of 27 September 2020. There are civilians among the casualties reported on both sides," it said in a press statement on Sunday.
"The ICRC calls on the sides to take all measures necessary to ensure that civilian life and infrastructure is respected and protected, in line with their obligation to respect basic rules of international humanitarian law," it stressed.
"We reiterate our commitment to assist and support those affected by this escalation as well as to act as a neutral intermediary", it quoted regional director Martin Schuepp as saying. "We urge the sides to exercise all the efforts possible at all times to abide by the principles of the international humanitarian law".
Azerbaijan said on Sunday positions of its army had come under extensive fire from Armenia. Armenia, in turn, said the Azerbaijani army had staged ab offensive in the direction of Nagorno-Karabakh. It said a number of settlements in Nagorno-Karabakh, including its administrative center Stepanakert, had come under shelling by Azerbaijan. Both sides report casualties, including among civilians. Armenia’s authorities have imposed martial law and announced mobilization of reservists.
The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the highland region of Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed territory that had been part of Azerbaijan before the Soviet Union break-up, but primarily populated by ethnic Armenians, broke out in February 1988 after the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region announced its withdrawal from the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic. In 1992-1994, tensions boiled over and exploded into large-scale military action for control over the enclave and seven adjacent territories after Azerbaijan lost control of them. Talks on the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement have been ongoing since 1992 under the OSCE Minsk Group, led by its three co-chairs - Russia, France and the United States.