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Armenia’s health ministry reports over 2,300 servicemen killed in Karabakh

The conflicting parties cannot know the final number of deaths as the process of exchanging the bodies of dead soldiers has just begun

YEREVAN, November 14. /TASS/. The number of servicemen killed in battles in Nagorno-Karabakh exceeded 2,300, Armenia’s Health Ministry reported on Saturday.

"As of today, our forensic service has examined the bodies of 2,317 servicemen, including those unidentified. The process of exchanging the bodies of dead soldiers left by the enemy has just begun and the conflicting parties cannot know the final number at this time, while these efforts continue," the ministry’s press office said.

On November 9, Russian President Vladimir Putin, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan signed a joint statement on a full ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh, starting from November 10. Under the peace deal, the Azerbaijani and Armenian forces will remain at their current positions while Russian peacekeepers will be deployed to the region.

Renewed clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia erupted on September 27, with intense battles raging in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The area experienced flare-ups of violence in the summer of 2014, in April 2016 and this past July. Azerbaijan and Armenia imposed martial law and launched mobilization efforts. Both parties to the conflict reported numerous casualties, among them civilians.

The conflict over 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.