Azerbaijan to kick off major military drills near disputed Karabakh
Iran Press TV
Fri Jun 17, 2016 2:1PM
Azerbaijan will launch military drills near Nagorno-Karabakh two months after fighting erupted with Armenian forces over the disputed Caucasus region, the country's defense ministry says.
The "operational-tactical exercise will be held from 19 to 24 of June with all the arms and services," the Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry said in a statement on Friday.
The statement noted that the military exercises will take place in "military ranges located in the (Karabakh) frontal zone, and in the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic, as well as the Azerbaijan sector of Caspian Sea set up."
About "25,000 servicemen, more than 300 tanks and armored combat vehicles, more than 100 rocket artillery launchers, up to 40 military aircraft and more than 30 air defense systems, ships of naval forces and special forces units," will take part in the drills, according to the ministry.
In early April, Azerbaijani and Armenian troops used artillery, tanks, and other armaments against each other on a scale not seen since a separatist war concluded in 1994. According to reports, nearly 75 servicemen from both sides along with a number of civilians were killed in the latest skirmishes between the hostile neighbors.
A Russian-mediated truce went into effect later that month, but sporadic clashes have since continued.
The Karabakh region, which is located in the Azerbaijan Republic but is populated by Armenians, has been under the control of local ethnic Armenian militia and the Armenian troops since a three-year war which claimed over 30,000 lives and ended in 1994.
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