MARTUNI, Nagorno-Karabakh (AP) — Because the preventing between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces rages on within the separatist territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, its residents are becoming a member of volunteer squads to defend their cities.
The Ovanisyan household and their neighbors had been referred to as Wednesday to obtain their Kalashnikov rifles to assist shield Martuni, a city near the entrance line within the japanese a part of the area.
“I used to be summoned to the recruitment workplace to offer me a gun so I can defend my land. I’m at all times able to combat for the well-being of my youngsters,” mentioned Valery Ovanisyan, a 64-year-old Martuni resident.
His 41-year-old relative Edik, who owns a store, admitted he has by no means loaded a gun earlier than.
“I’m doing this nonsense for the primary time in my life,” he mentioned whereas inserting cartridges into the journal.
Overhearing him, Karen Musaelyan, shortly retorted: “This isn’t nonsense! That is our bread!”
The latest preventing in Nagorno-Karabakh erupted on Sept. 27 and has since killed a whole bunch. It marked the largest escalation of a decades-old battle over the area that lies inside Azerbaijan however has been underneath the management of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia.
The violence — involving heavy artillery, rockets and drones — has continued to rage regardless of Russia’s try and dealer a truce.
Russia, which has a safety pact with Armenia but additionally has cultivated heat ties with Azerbaijan, hosted prime diplomats from Armenia and Azerbaijan for greater than 10 hours of talks that ended with Saturday’s cease-fire deal. However the settlement instantly frayed, with each side blaming one another for breaching it.
On Thursday, Azerbaijan once more accused Armenian forces of shelling a number of of its areas and claimed that one of many strikes hit a cemetery, killing three folks. The declare was instantly supported by Turkey, which has publicly sided with Azerbaijan within the battle.
“Armenia continues to ignore the humanitarian cease-fire introduced on Oct. 10 for the trade of prisoners and victims,” Turkey’s International Ministry mentioned in an announcement, including that the nation’s forces “don’t even enable our Azerbaijani brothers to bury their useless.”
Armenian authorities, in flip, mentioned Azerbaijan had breached the truce, alleging that its forces killed two folks in an assault on its territory on Wednesday. Nagorno-Karabakh officers additionally reported new strikes on Stepanakert, the territory’s capital, that got here underneath intense shelling final week.
In Martuni, homes and buildings have been badly broken by the shelling.
The household of Benik Osepyan, 91, combed the rubble of their house, choosing up issues spared by the strike.
Martuni residents acquired their Kalashnikovs a day after Nagorno-Karabakh’s chief, Arayik Harutyunyan, introduced rules on the “participation of the militia forces” within the preventing.
On Thursday, he additionally launched journey restrictions for individuals who are eligible for the draft, permitting them to go away the area solely underneath particular circumstances and with a allow from the authorities.
Valery Ovanisyan mentioned his grandchildren have departed for Armenia, however he was staying behind for his or her sake,
“They’re small, 3 years and 5 years. They shouldn’t be right here. I’m right here, holding floor (to guard) them,” he mentioned.
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