Armenia calls for immediate withdrawal of Islamic mercenaries

Armenia called for an immediate and complete withdrawal of all foreign mercenaries from the Nagorno-Karabakh area that were deployed by Turkey and Azerbaijan.

“The Azerbaijani leadership’s decision to transform their own country into a Turkish satellite and a terror cluster is a serious threat not only to the region’s security but also international security,” Armenia’s Foreign Minister Ara Aivazyan said, Asbarez newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Turkey deployed thousands of Syrian mercenaries to fight alongside the Azeri armed forces in recent fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh, according to analysts, NGOs and various news reports.

The total number of Syrian fighters involved in battles in Nagorno-Karabakh reached as many as 2,580, of whom 342 returned to Syria after they forwent salary payments, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said in December. Almost 300 militants died in the fighting, it said.

Aivazyan said that the presence of foreign militants in Azerbaijan was confirmed by several countries and international organisations, who acknowledged Turkey’s role in it.

Several detained foreign fighters have admitted that they were paid to fight for Azerbaijan, Aivazyan stated.

“We expect a more targeted influence from the international community so that Turkey revises its explicitly aggressive attitude toward Armenia and the Armenian people,” he said.

Azerbaijan and Armenia, two former Soviet republics in the South Caucasus, signed a Russian-brokered truce on Nov.10 to halt clashes over Nagorno-Karabakh after six weeks of fighting. More than 5,600 people have been reported killed in the battles.

Turkey has supported Azerbaijan politically and militarily from the start of the conflict. It has also supplied Azerbaijan with unmanned drones that proved a key differential between the warring sides.