MOSCOW — Azerbaijani forces have taken control of this key town of Shushi at Nagorno-Karabakh where battling Armenia has raged for at least a month, the nation’s president said Sunday.
In a televised speech to the country, President Ilham Aliyev stated”Shusha is ours — Karabakh is ” with the Azerbaijani variant of the town’s name.
But, Armenian Defense Ministry spokesman Artsrun Ovannisian stated on Facebook following Aliyev’s claim that”fighting Shushi is ongoing; wait and feel in our troops”
Shushi is of important military value since it sits on peaks about 10 km (6 miles) south of this area’s capital of Stepanakert and is located across the primary road linking Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia.
Nagorno-Karabakh is present in Azerbaijan but has been under the management of neighborhood ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since 1994. The most recent outbreak of fighting began on Sept. 27 and has abandoned tens of thousands — if not thousands — dead.
Aliyev pledged to keep the fighting before Armenia withdraws from the land.
“The delight of the Azerbaijani brothers that free their inhabited towns and Karabakh step by step is our pleasure,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a rally at the northwestern town of Kocaeli.