‘The city is shaking from strikes,’ say Stepanakert residents
Artsakh’s capital Stepanakert came under a barrage of Azerbaijani missile attacks from the early morning hours on Thursday with more than a dozen strikes hitting the city forcing residents to clamor for safety.
Overnight, five missiles hit Stepanakert as the attacks intensified in the early morning hours.
Artsakh emergency authorities said the first Azeri missile hit the city at 08:03 a.m. local time, minutes after the air raid sirens were activated. The Azeri military fired Smerch multiple rocket launchers, hitting a residence. The home and an adjacent building were completely destroyed, and one vehicle was damaged. The homeowner and his neighbor were wounded and hospitalized.
From 10:59 to 11:24 the Azerbaijani forces continued the non-strop bombardment of Stepanakert, and advance to bomb Shushi and Martakert firing Smerch rockets, according the Artsakh Defense Ministry.
Stepanakert has been a target of Azerbaijani attacks since its forces began an aggressive attack on Artsakh, aided by Turkey military and Ankara-backed terrorists on September 27.
The renewed attacks of the the capital began Wednesday, when Azerbaijani airstrikes destroyed the maternity hospital in Stepanakert.
Civilian casualties and heavy damages was reported in Shushi on Thursday as a result of Azerbaijani air bombardments, the State Service of Emergency Situations of Artsakh said.
“Azerbaijan is continuously violating all international conventions, using banned munitions against the peaceful population and civilian settlements of Artsakh. Shushi once again came under an Azerbaijani missile attack. There are civilian casualties and major material damages,” the State Service of Emergency Situations of Artsakh said.
The town of Shushi, as well as the city of Stepanakert and other nearby settlements, were heavily bombarded by the Azeri military with Smerch multiple rocket launchers.
Azerbaijan’s crimes against humanity and policy of ethnic cleansing is doomed to failure and will meet the decisive resistance by the people of Artsakh, Armenia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The Foreign Ministry reminded that in the past three days the peaceful settlements of Nagorno Karabakh are under constant Azerbaijani missile, artillery strikes, UAV attacks and bombardments of the military air force.
“These war crimes committed by the Azerbaijani regime against the peaceful population, with the direct involvement of Turkey and international terrorists, and aimed at eliminating the Armenian people in Nagorno Karabakh,” Armenia’s Foreign Ministry warned.
Despite the calls of the international community and the efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairing countries, Azerbaijan stubbornly rejects the implementation of ceasefire agreements and the installation of ceasefire observation verification mechanisms in the conflict zone, the foreign ministry said.
“Seeking to carry out its genocidal plan and avoiding its responsibility, Azerbaijan at the same time has launched a campaign based on lies and falsifications to mislead the international community,” warned the foreign ministry.