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Unidentified drone crashes in NW Iran as Armenia, Azerbaijan clash over Nagorno-Karabakh

This photo shows the wreckage of an unknown drone which crashed on the outskirts of Upper Uzunteppe village, Ardabil Province, northwestern Iran, on October 13, 2020. (Photo by IRNA)

An unidentified unmanned aerial vehicle has crashed in Iran’s northwestern province of Ardabil close to the area where an intense fighting is underway between neighboring Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Deputy Governor of Ardabil Province Behrouz Nedaei told IRNA that the drone went down on the outskirts of Upper Uzunteppe village of Parsabad County on Tuesday.

Nedaei added that investigations were underway to determine the origin of the aircraft, noting that the crash had caused no damage.

Local authorities believe the drone possibly belonged to one of the two neighbors involved in the fighting over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, according to IRNA.

Earlier this month, northwestern Iranian border regions were, on several occasions, hit by stray mortar shells and rockets exchanged between the armies of Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Those incidents prompted stern warnings from senior Iranian officials, with Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami pledging stronger measures than warnings if such incidents were repeated.

Tehran has, at the same time, offered to mediate in the conflict, calling on both sides to exercise restraint, end the conflict immediately and resume negotiations.

Since late September, Armenia and Azerbaijan have been engaged in bitter clashes over Nagorno-Karabakh, a breakaway region of Azerbaijan controlled by Armenians after a 1990s war.

Nearly 600 people, including 67 civilians, have been killed since last month, according to a tally based on tolls given by both sides.

The warring sides reached a humanitarian ceasefire on Saturday following 11 hours of Russia-mediated talks in Moscow, but the agreement has failed to end the clashes.

The two Caucasus rivals accuse each other of serious truce violations and crimes against civilians.

On Monday, Russia urged Armenia and Azerbaijan to immediately start observing the humanitarian truce, which was meant to halt fighting to allow both sides to exchange prisoners and the bodies of people killed.

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