The Australian Hellenic Council and the Federation of Pontian Associations of Australia have condemned Azerbaijan cease-fire violations with Armenia as the two countries suffer 95 casualties after the third day of conflict.
Both Armenia and Azerbaijan on Tuesday (local time) reported munitions being fired from the other side across their shared border. The incidents signalled a further escalation of the conflict despite urgent appeals from Russia, the United States and others to halt the fighting.
Azerbaijani forces launched a “massive offensive at the Karabakh frontline’s southern and north-eastern sectors,” Armenia’s Defense Ministry spokesman Artsrun Hovhannisyan said on Monday evening.
Some 200 troops have been wounded, Armenian Defense Ministry said. Meanwhile, officials in the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh said that 26 more of their troops were killed on Monday evening, bringing the rebels’ total military casualties to 84.
The overall death toll has now reached 95, with 11 civilians killed since violence broke out on Sunday; nine in Azerbaijan and two on the Armenian side.
The Australian Hellenic Council labelled the aggression in the region as “alarming and unacceptable” as they expressed their support for Armenia.
“We condemn the cease-fire violations by Azerbaijan in Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) and express full solidarity with the Armenian people,” the Council said on Facebook.
The Federation of Pontian Associations of Australia says the strong support from “Turkey’s dictator and human rights violator Erdogan” has allowed Azerbaijani forces to carry out attacks on innocent civilians for days.
“The repeated Turkish aggression in the world and the denial of responsibility for the genocides of the Armenians, the Assyrians and the Greeks, has led to the continuous humanitarian catastrophes that the world has seen.”
“We call on the Australian Government to condemn these acts and to demand a response from Turkey and to defend human rights.”
The worst violence in the region since 2016 has raised the prospect of a new war in an area that has been simmering for decades.
Turkey fuelling fire
Tensions were increased on Monday when Armenia claimed an F-16 fighter jet belonging to Azerbaijan’s close ally Turkey had shot down one of its warplanes over Armenian airspace, killing the pilot.
Armenia provided no evidence of the incident. Turkey and Azerbaijan called the claim “absolutely untrue”.
According to the German press, Turkey will soon be sending Syrian fighters to help Azerbaijan in their conflict against Armenia. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) claims, “there are increasing indications that Turkey is also providing military assistance to Azerbaijan.”
The claims were supported by the Armenian ambassador to Russia, who said Turkey had sent around 4,000 fighters from the territory of northern Syria to Azerbaijan.
Two Syrian fighters also told Reuters that Ankara was sending fighters from rebel groups it had allied with in northern Syria to support Azerbaijan.
Turkey has denied all Syrian fighter deployment reports, saying the allegations were part of Armenia’s efforts to create a “black” Turkey.