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Four Armenian troops killed in fresh clashes with Azerbaijan over Karabakh

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Armenian servicemen fire an artillery shell towards Azeri forces from their positions in the town of Martakert in the disputed region of Karabakh on April 3, 2016. (AFP photo)

At least four Armenian military personnel have been killed in a series of clashes between Armenian-backed and Azerbaijani forces in the disputed Caucasus region of Karabakh.

"Four more military victims were announced today on the Karabakh side," in fresh clashes with Azerbaijan forces on Monday, said Hovhannes Guevorkian, Karabakh representative in France.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Guevorkia blamed Azeri forces for continued bombing of towns across the volatile region, saying the violence-wracked region would use fixed-wing combat aircraft if there was a new large-scale attack by Azerbaijan forces.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Armenia-backed authorities in Karabakh have accused Azeri forces of killing three civilians, including a 92-year-old woman, in the village of Talysh.

Armenian Defense Ministry spokesman Artsrun Hovhannisyan also claimed that the Yerevan-backed forces had "seriously advanced at certain sectors of the front line and took up new positions." The remarks were quickly dismissed as "untrue" by senior Azerbaijan authorities in Baku.

Armenian volunteers wearing military fatigues and holding their weapons wait next to buses in Yerevan on April 3, 2016 before heading to front-line in the disputed Karabakh region. (AFP photo)

On the third day of the heaviest clashes in 20 years in the disputed border region, the Azeri Defense Ministry said on Monday that  three of its troopers were killed as the Armenians fired mortar shells at Azeri positions and attacked them using grenade launchers overnight.

Ministry spokesman Vagif Dargahly warned that his country “will launch a full-scale operation along the entire front-line, using all kinds of weapons,” if Armenia continued its “provocations.”

Azeri servicemen carry their comrade who was wounded during clashes with Armenian forces in the disputed region of Karabakh on April 3, 2016. (AFP photo)

The fighting between the two countries erupted last Friday, leaving nearly 40 people dead so far.

Meanwhile, Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian has suggested that a "ceasefire would only be possible if the militaries of both sides return to the positions" they held prior to the outbreak of hostilities.

The proposal comes a day after Azerbaijan announced a “unilateral” ceasefire as a gesture of goodwill, warning, however, that it would strike back if its forces came under attack. Bouts of fighting were reported soon afterwards.

The Karabakh region, which is located in the Azerbaijan Republic but is populated by Armenians, has been under the control of local ethnic Armenian militia and the Armenian troops since a three-year war, which claimed over 30,000 lives, ended between the two republics in 1994 through Russian mediation.

Last December, the Armenian Defense Ministry said the ceasefire deal reached in 1994 was no longer in place, saying the current situation amounted to “war.”

Although the two countries are divided by a buffer zone, both sides frequently accuse each other of violating the ceasefire.

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