Syria Confirms Militants Are Fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh – Word is circulating that there are mercenary militants plunging into the arena of war between Azerbaijan and Armenia. The Syrians later confirmed their involvement.

President Bashar al-Assad says militants are from Syria in Nagorno-Karabakh. Turkey and Azerbaijan have so far rejected accusations France, Russia and Iran are using mercenary guerrillas from Syria to wage war with Armenia.

“Damascus can confirm this,” he said in an interview with Russian news agency RIA Novosti on Tuesday, October 6, 2020.

The statement reinforced pressure on Ankara, which has been accused of co-putting the conflict between the two neighbouring countries. The Armenian PM, Nikol Pashinian, said “a ceasefire can only be reached if Turkey withdraws from the South Caucasus.”

Ankara has so far retaliated accusing Armenia of using Kurdish militants, but has failed to show evidence.

The British daily, the Guardian, last week reported opposition guerrillas in Idlib Province, Syria, reported they offered to work to protect oil and gas facilities in Azerbaijan for three to six months. Each earns up to £1,000 or the equivalent of £19m a month.

According to a Guardian report, the systematic mobilization of militants from Syria indicates an escalation of the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh has been planned for Azerbaijan for a long time.

Turkey, which is a member of the North Atlantic Defense Pact (NATO), has also urged its own allies to refrain. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said “the alliance is deeply concerned about the escalation of violence,” in Nagorno-Karabakh, and called on Turkey to “use its significant influence to defuse tensions.”

Iran, which borders Armenia and Azerbaijan, said it was working on a peace plan to end the fighting that has broken out since September 27. The Foreign Ministry in Tehran was reluctant to discuss details, but confirmed it would seek peace between the two countries.

“Iran has prepared a plan with a specific and detailed framework, after consultations with the two warring parties, Azerbaijan and Armenia, as well as regional and neighboring countries, to support this plan,” iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said.

Iran, which has a 760-kilometer border with the two countries, urged it not to expand the conflict beyond its territorial boundaries. “Any form of aggression at the border against the Islamic Republic, though unintentional, is a serious violation,” Khatibzadeh said.

Since the beginning of the conflict, mortar fire has repeatedly targeted residential areas in the north of Iran, causing injuries to children and damage to buildings.

Old Grudges in Nagorno-Karabakh

The Nagorno-Karabakh region, which is Azerbaijani territory, has been under the occupation of the government-backed ethnic Armenian militia in Yerevan since the end of the separatism war in 1994.

Azerbaijan’s offensive was mostly directed at the region’s capital, Stepanakert. According to Armenia, azerbaijan’s military bombarded the city with heavy artillery weapons throughout last weekend, RIA Novosti reported. The attack crippled electricity infrastructure and gas supplies.

Instead azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry accused Armenia of attacking the towns of Tartar, Barda and Beylagan on the border. Even Ganja, Azerbaijan’s second-largest city located far outside the conflict zone, was also hit by bombs, officials said.

The United Nations urged the two countries to return to the negotiating table sponsored by Russia, France and the United States. The Minsk Group meeting was held by the OSCE Security Cooperation Organization since 1992 to find a solution to the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh.

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