Heavy fighting erupts in Karabakh (with updates)
27 September 2020

Heavy fighting erupted between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone on Sunday, 27 September. Fighting took place across the whole length of the line of contact, but appears to have been heaviest in the northern sector and in the South and South Eastern sectors. In the northern sector Azerbaijan claims to have seized two strategic heights, and that it has an Armenian garrison surrounded. In the Southern and South easter sectors, Azerbaijan appeared to be pushing towards the town of Fizuli. Both sides have reported suffering both civilian and military casualties. Armenia and Azerbaijan have both declared a state of emergency and a full or partial mobilisation of reserves. President Aliyev of Azerbaijan and prime minister Pashinyan of Armenia spoke about the fighting in beligerent terms accusing each other of causing the crisis.

There has been a chorus of calls by the international community for a cease fire and de-escalation. Russian president Putin has spoken with Armenian prime minister Pashinyan, and foreign minister Lavrov with the foreign ministers of the two countries. The EU High representative, Josep Borrell has also spoken with the two foreign ministers. Many countries and international organisations, including NATO and the Council of Europe have issued calls of a cessation of hostilities.

1830 CEST (2030 Baku/Yerevan)

Armenian prime minister Nikol Pashinyan made a defiant speech when he appeared before the Armenian Parliament on Sunday afternoon."The Armenian people has never kneeled down and it will never happen, we will never surrender any millimeter of our motherland", he told MPs.

Pashinyan recorded that there is nothing unexpected from strategic viewpoint in what has happened. ‘'Because, in fact, the problem is that our people is facing a dilemma to abandon the rights of the people of Artsakh or to get war. I want to very clearly record that the position of Azerbaijan during this entire process has been the same. And in the negotiation process Azerbaijan consistently developed this concept - either we abandon the rights of the people of Artsakh, their right to self-determination, or we get war. And it's this concept that today has led us to the conflict. The Republic of Armenia and the Armenian people should firmly support the rights of the people of Artsakh and the rights of the entire Armenian people in general'', Pashinyan said, emphasizing that the Armenian people should stand strong and protect their right of living on their holy land.

He noted that as a Commander-in-chief he has not come to the National Assembly to say what our soldiers and Generals are ready to do. "I have come here to say what I am ready for. I am ready to be martyred for the sake of our motherland, the Armenian people has never kneeled down and will never kneel down"


1740 CEST (1940 Baku/Yerevan)

Apart from the fighting on the ground, there is also a propaganda war going on, and not all of it is legitimate. One of the most popular Armenian sites called has been hacked  by a group called Karabakh Hacking Team and is now showing speeches of Ilham Aliyev

1630 CEST (1830 Baku/Yerevan)

The crisis in the South Caucasus has deepened and both Armenia and Azerbaijan have started the process to impose martial law on their territory. The parliaments of the two countries met and approved the measures on Sunday afternoon.

Both sides are also indicating that they have suffered heavy casualties, although the numbers are not yet clear. Fighting in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone has intensified during the day.


1515 CEST (1715 Baku/Yerevan)

Iran joins call for a cease fire

Iran, which has a border with the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone, as well as with Armenia and Azerbaijan has issued a call for a cease fire.

 Reuters news agency reports from Dubai that Iran called on Sunday for an immediate end to the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan after clashes between the two countries, a foreign ministry spokesman was quoted as saying by state TV, announcing Tehran's readiness to help in establishing a ceasefire.

"Iran is closely monitoring the conflict with concern and calls for an immediate end to the conflict and the start of talks between the two countries," Saeed Khatibzadeh said.

"Tehran is ready to use all its capacities to help talks to start between the two sides."


1500 CEST (1700 Baku and Yerevan)

A short recap of events over the last hours which has seen heavy fighting taking place between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone

The two sides have blamed each other for starting the fighting.

The Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs this morning issued the following statement:

Early this morning, the Azerbaijani side launched an active shelling along the entire line of contact, targeting peaceful settlements, including the capital Stepanakert.

We strongly condemn the aggression of the military-political leadership of Azerbaijan towards the Artsakh Republic. The Armenian parties will act confidently to the best of their ability to ensure the security of the people of Artsakh, to give an adequate political and military response. The military-political leadership of Azerbaijan bears all the responsibility for the aggression unleashed by it.

On its part, the Azerbaijani foreign ministry has given this version of events:

On September 27, 2020 the armed forces of Armenia blatantly violating the ceasefire regime have launched another aggression against Azerbaijan, by intensively shelling the positions of the armed forces of Azerbaijan along the frontline, as well as the villages of Qapanli of Terter district, Chiragli and Orta Garavend of Aghdam district, Alkhanli and Shukurbeyli of Fizuli district and Jojuq Merjanli of Jabrayil district, using large-caliber weapons, mortar launchers and artillery.

According to the information of the Ministry of Defence, there are reports of dead and wounded among civilians and military servicemen. Extensive damage has been inflicted on many homes and civilian infrastructure.

In order to prevent another military aggression by Armenia and provide the security of densely populated civilian residential areas the Armed Forces of the Republic of Azerbaijan undertake counter-offensive measures within the right of self-defense and in full compliance with the international humanitarian law.

In the meantime reports continue to come in of heavy fighting across the entire line of contact in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone but particiularly in the northern and southern sectors.

Azerbaijan says it has taken a number of villages and miltary posts from Armenian control.

There is already a diplomatic effort to try to stop the fighting, with Russia leading the process. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has spoken to his Armenian and Azerbaijani counterparts, as well as to the Turkish Foreign Minister. Turkley has taken an open position of support for Azerbaijan. There have been statements and calls for a cease fire from a number of countries and internatioal organisations, including the EU, the OSCE, the Council of Europe and Germany.

Both sides have reported civilian and military casualties, and the ICRC has issued a call to protect civilians during the conflict.


1445 CEST (1645 Baku/Yerevan)

More international calls for an end to hostilities

OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Edi Rama, calls for return to ceasefire around Nagorno-Karabakh and resumption of substantive negotiations
"Noting the dramatic increase in violence along the line of contact today and reports of civilian casualties, OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Albania's Prime Minister and Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Edi Rama, called for urgent de-escalation of the situation. "I urge all involved to immediately return to the ceasefire before the human toll of this conflict increases any further," Rama said.

Rama noted that the Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group and the Personal Representative of the Chairperson-in-Office, Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk, have been in close contact with the sides. Rama fully supports their efforts to stabilize the situation on the ground and reiterated that there is no alternative to a peaceful negotiated solution of the conflict. He underscored his support for the Co-Chairs' efforts to resume substantive negotiations without preconditions, as soon as possible.

The Chairperson-in-Office also offered his condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in this latest round of violence."


1445 CEST (1645 Baku/Yerevan)

Jogug Marjanli without electricity

The electricity sub station in the village of Jogug Marjanli has been destroyed by Armenian fiore, an Azerbaijani source has reported. The village is currently without electiricity.


1440 CEST (1640 Baku/Yerevan)

A medical centre in the Armenian region of Syunik, close to where some of the heaviest fighting is taking place has made an urgent appeal for blood. web portal said Syunik Deputy Governor Narek Babayan wrote on his Facebook page

"Sisian Medical Center is in urgent need of voluntary blood donors. If you are interested, please call doctor Vardush Tjanyan at 094663811. Sincerely, Sisian MC "


1430 CEST (1630 Baku/Yerevan)

ICRC issues appeal to safeguard civilians

"The International Committee of the 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 statement issued in Geneva this afternoon. 

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.

"We reiterate our commitment to assist and support those affected by this escalation as well as to act as a neutral intermediary", said regional director Martin Schüepp. "We urge the sides to exercise all the efforts possible at all times to abide by the principles of the international humanitarian law".


1400 CEST (1600 Baku/Yerevan)

Gas and electricity supplies in Karabakh interruptedElectricity and gas supply interruptions have occurred in Nagorno-Karabakh as a result of the Azerbaijani bombardments, an official of the territory has said

Deputy Minister of Economic and Industrial Infrastructures Armen Tovmasyan said:

"Infrastructures of a number of settlements have been damaged as a result of the Azerbaijani military attack," he said, adding that the damages are being rapidly restored.


1340 CEST (1540 Baku/Yerevan)

This tweet from Dr Giorgi Khelashvili, one of the region's top foreign policy experts

1330 CEST (1530 Baku/Yerevan)

The EU has added its voice calling for an immediate cease fire in the Karabakh conflict zone.

A statement by High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, issued on Sunday (27 September) said:

"On 27 September 2020, fighting erupted along the Line of Contact in the Nagorno Karabakh conflict zone, regrettably causing military and civilian casualties.The European Union calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities, de-escalation and for strict observance of the ceasefire.

The return to negotiations of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict settlement under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs, without preconditions, is needed urgently."


1305 CEST (1505 Baku/Yerevan)

We have changed the cover picture for this  blog. The new picture is a screen grab from one of this morning's tank battles from the Georgian TV station Mtavari Arkhi

1250 CEST (1450 Baku/Yerevan)

Azerbaijan claims military successes in fighting dduring the day in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone

Azerbaijan has claimed that in the hours of fighting in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone it had liberated a number of villages, and destroyed Armenian military positions. An Azerbaijani Ministry of Defence source said 

"In the course of a successful military operation, units of the Azerbaijani army liberated the villages of Garakhanbeyli, Gervend, the village of Horadiz, Boyuk Marjanli and Ryuzgar.
Congratulations to the Azerbaijani people on the victory !!!"

Fierce battles appear to be under way for control of the strategic Murovdag Pass in the northern sector of the line of contact. Control of the pass can disrupt land movement between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia.

1231 CEST (1431 Baku/Yerevan)

First reaction from the OSCE Minsk Group mediators

The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group (Igor Popov of the Russian Federation, Stephane Visconti of France, and Andrew Schofer of the United States of America) have just made the following statement which was posted on the OSCE website:

The Co-Chairs view with concern reports of large scale military actions along the Line of Contact in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone. We strongly condemn the use of force and regret the senseless loss of life, including civilians. The Co-Chairs appeal to the sides to cease hostilities immediately and to resume negotiations to find a sustainable resolution of the conflict.

The Co-Chairs call on the sides to take all necessary measures to stabilize the situation on the ground and reiterate that there is no alternative to a peaceful negotiated solution of the conflict.


1230 CEST (1430 Baku/Yerevan)

International response

Voices from the international community have expressed serious concern following the outbreak of fighting this morning in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone, amid calls for Armenia and Azerbaijan end to end hostilities and de-escalate.

William Murray has been monitoring international reaction from the media centre in The Hague.

read more here  


11.55 CEST/ 1355 Baku/Yerevan

First reports of casualties are starting coming in. The Head of the Security Council of the self-declared Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, Samvel Babayan said that ten Armenian soldiers were killed this morning. He also reported two civilian casualties, a woman and a child. Azerbaijan has published a list of civilians it claimed were killed or injured in the initial fighting early this morning.

Both sides are issuing pictures of civilian settlements that have been damaged

This is an a screen grab from the Turkish TV Channel Haber Global showing destroyed houses on the Azerbaijani side of the line of contact


This is a picture of destroyed civilian building in Stepanakert. This picture from the Armenian Joint Information Centre

1130  CEST 1330 Baku/Yerevan

Heated battles are taking place across the whole line of contact

According to various reports, the fighting in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone is taking place across the whole line of contact. In the northern sector, the Azerbaijani army is claiming that it is advanicing towards the twon of Agdere/Martakert. In another report the Azerbaijani army said that it was advancing towards high ground in the Terter - Agdam, Fizuli - Jebrail directions and in the direction of Mount Murovdag. Armenian sources report that Stepanakert has been shelled. An Armenian spokesperson for the Ministry of Defence saidthat heated battles were taking place and that Azerbaijan had carried out missile, air, and artillery strikes on various Armenian military targets. He said the attacks have been repelled, and that there were some Armenian losses, which he described as insignificant.


1100 CEST 1300 Baku/Yerevan

Armenia declares Martial Law and general mobilisatiom

Armenian prime minister Nikol Pashinyan has met his security team, and afterwards made the following statement: 

Dear compatriots, now, upon the decision of the government, the Republic of Armenia is declaring martial law and general mobilization.

The decision will enter into force upon promulgation.

I call on the personnel attached to troops to show up to their territorial military registration offices.

For the homeland, for victory.



1045 CEST 1245 Baku/Yerevan

Civilian casualties

Both sides are reporting civilian casualties in the fighting in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone that has been going on now for over six hours. Armenian sources say that civilian settlement in Stepanakert, the territory's capital have been hit, as well as iother civilian settlements nearby. Azerbaijan reported civilian casualties earlier in the morning .

1020 CEST 1220 Baku/Yerevan

Azerbaijan  president addresses nation; reports military and civilian casualties "Azertac news agency has issued the following quote from Aliyev''s speech:

"This morning, the Armenian armed forces fired on our settlements, as well as our military positions, using various types of weapons, including heavy artillery, from several directions. As a result of enemy fire, there are casualties among the civilian population and our servicemen, there are wounded. May God have mercy on our martyrs! Their blood will not remain on the ground. The Azerbaijani Army is currently firing on the enemy's military positions, and as a result of these strikes, many of the enemy's military equipment have been destroyed. This is another manifestation of Armenian fascism.

Editorial Note: This item has been corrected for grammar accuracy


0955 CEST (1155 Baku/Yerevan)

Pashinyan says military attack was preplanned. He has just tweeted


0946 CEST (1146 Baku/Yerevan)

Turkey pledges support to Azerbaijan

Turkey strongly condemns the Armenian attack on Azerbaijan. Ibrahim Kalyn, press secretary of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, announced this on his Twitter page.

"Armenia launched attacks on settlements and once again demonstrated that it opposes peace and stability in the region. The international community must immediately stop this dangerous provocation. Turkey next to Azerbaijan. We express our condolences to the families of the deceased brothers. Azerbaijan is not alone and has full support from Turkey, "he said

0945 CEST (1145 Baku/Yerevan)

Aliyev to address the nation shortly

Azerbaijani media say president Ilham Aliyev will address the nation shortly on TV.


0940 CEST (1140 Baku/Yerevan)

Karabakh de facto president says this is a battle for life or death

Arayik Harutyounyan, the de facto president of the self-declared Nagorno Karabakh Republic has addressed the people with the following message:

"Dear compatriots,

Early this morning, the enemy started shelling actively along the entire length of the line of contact and in the direction of several peaceful settlements. We call on the population to protect themselves and be calm.

A short while ago, I met our first volunteers. I assure you that our armed forces are strong at their positions, and the response will be adequate. The military-political leadership of Azerbaijan bears full responsibility for the situation and will be held responsible for each casualty.

This is a battle for life or death, and we are accepting this as a nation and will achieve victory as a nation.

Nobody should be in despair when hearing about victims, casualties or injured persons. They have declared a war, and a war is what they will get. We need to honor the homeland and the generations."

Later addressing the territory's parliament Haroutyunyan declared martial law, and universal military mobilisation for all those 18 years or older.


0930 CEST (1130 Baku/Yerevan)

The fighting that has erupted this morning in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone is not a small skirmish, as has been the cases with many incidents in the past, but have all the hallmarks of a major military engagement. Tension has been building up throughout the summer, after a few days of heavy fighting in mid-July, with both sides emphasising their level of military preparedness.

The Azerbaijani Army has issued a statement calling on the civilian population in Nagorno-Karabakh to stay away from military installations. “We officially announce that the Azerbaijani army does not target the civilian population, civilian objects and civilian infrastructure. Unlike the occupying country of Armenia, Azerbaijan observes the requirements of the provisions of international humanitarian law, including the Geneva Conventions, during military operations", the statement said.

On its part the de facto leadership in Nagorno-Karabakh has reported "heated battles". "Early this morning, the enemy launched active shelling along the entire line of contact. Civilian settlements, including the capital, Stepanakert, are also under fire. We urge the population to take cover. At the same time, we declare that our response will be proportionate, and all responsibility for the situation lies with the military-political leadership of Azerbaijan, and personally Ilham Aliyev" a spokesperson for the de facto authorities said.


Heavy fighting erupted on Sunday monring (27 September) in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone.

According to Armenian sources, Azerbaijani troops made an attack along the entire length of the line of contact. Armenian defense ministry spokesperson Shushan Stepnyan added that the Armenian side shot down two enemy helicopters and three drones. "The battles continue, " she added.

Armenian prime minister Nikol Pashinyan also took to his Facebook to comment on the news.

"Dear proud citizens of Armenia, proud citizens of Artsakh and Diaspora. The opponent launched an offensive in the direction of Artsakh. The Defense Army successfully resists the attack," Pashinyan said.According to the Azerbaijani version, "the Armenian Armed Forces committed a large-scale provocation and fired at the positions of the Azerbaijani Army in the frontline zone and our settlements with large-caliber weapons, mortars and artillery of various calibers." This was stated by the spokesman for the Defense Ministry, Lieutenant-Colonel Anar Eyvazov.

Eyvazov said that "as a result of intensive enemy shelling of Gapanli village of Tartar region, Chiragli and Orta Garvand villages of Aghdam region, Alkhanli and Shukurbeyli villages of Fuzuli region, Jojug Marjanli village of Jabrayil region, some civilians were killed and wounded. damaged. The firing points of the Armenian Armed Forces have been silenced. It was decided to launch a counter-offensive to protect the safety of civilians. Objects of the Armenian Armed Forces located on the front line and in the depths of the front were destroyed."

The Azerbaijani defence ministry spokesperson also said that twelve OSA anti-aircraft missile systems of the Armenian air defense units were destroyed in different directions and that one combat helicopter of the Azerbaijani Army was damaged, and the helicopter landed at our positions. The troops continue their rapid counter-offensive operations.

Editorial note: reports about the fighting from secondary sources and is not able to confirm the accuracy or otherwise of the reports.

source: with agencies