BAKU, September 30. /TASS/. No one will force Azerbaijan to leave the territories, which it took under control during four-day battles in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone, Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev stressed on Wednesday.
"During four-day battles the Azerbaijani army carried out successful operations, liberating strategic heights and several settlements. After a long pause we returned to our lands, hoisted there our flag and no one will be able to make us leave these lands now," Aliyev said during his visit to a military hospital in Baku, where the wounded servicemen are undergoing treatment.
The Azerbaijani leader vowed that "Azerbaijan would restore its territorial integrity."
On September 27, the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh escalated and intense fighting has been underway in the disputed region. Both Azerbaijan and Armenia imposed martial law and declared mobilization. Both sides reported a growing number of casualties, including among the civilians. Baku claimed that it had taken control of several Karabakh villages and strategic positions. Yerevan reported about the shelling on Armenia’s soil.
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.