Armenia says 'irrefutable' evidence on Syrian mercenaries deployed by Turkey
Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan said on Thursday that Yerevan had undeniable evidence that Turkey sends militants from Syria and Libya to the disputed Nagorno Karabakh, Russian news agency Ria Novosti reported.
”There are irrefutable documented proofs of the presence of foreign terrorist militants and their regular deployment by Turkey. This is confirmed by the intelligence data of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-chair countries and the footages from the conflict zone”, he said in an interview with the agency.
Fighting broke out on Sept. 27 in breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh - part of Azerbaijan but run by its mostly ethnic Armenian inhabitants - and has reached its most serious level since a war in the 1990s.
Russia, Armenia and France have accused Turkey of sending Syrian militants to the region in support of Azerbaijan.
"Turkey sees this conflict as an opportunity to increase its influence in another, the neighbouring region of South Caucasus. The policy of trading on the conflict and inflicting great human suffering on the peoples of the region for spreading its power should be resisted, not encouraged," the foreign minister said.
Meanwhile, Amnesty International verified the use of banned cluster bombs by Armenia for the first time in the ongoing Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, following an attack on the city of Barda in Azerbaijan.
Armenian forces fired one or several Smerch rockets into Barda, striking a residential neighbourhood close to a hospital, killing at least 21 people and wounding over 70 according to Azeri authorities, Amnesty International said.
“The firing of cluster munitions into civilian areas is cruel and reckless, and causes untold death, injury and misery,” Marie Struthers, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, said.
“As this conflict continues to escalate, Armenian, Armenian-backed and Azerbaijani forces have all been guilty of using of banned weapons that have endangered the lives of civilians caught in the middle," she said.