Armenia’s parliament condemns ‘full-scale military attack’ by Azerbaijan

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Azerbaijan soldiers fire from a mortar at the contact line of the self-proclaimed Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh in this image taken from footage released by Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry. (Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry via AP)
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Volunteers of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation gather to leave for the Nagorny-Karabah region in Yerevan, Armenia, Sept. 27, 2020. (EPA)
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A civilian injured during clashes in the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh. (Foreign Ministry of Armenia/Reuters)
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Video released by Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, Azerbaijan's forces destroy Armenian anti-aircraft system at the contact line of the self-proclaimed Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan. Fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan broke out Sunday around the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh and the Armenian Defense Ministry said two Azerbaijani helicopters were shot down. Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev said in a televised address to the nation that "there are losses among the Azerbaijani forces and the civilian population as a result of the Armenian bombardment" but did not give further details. (Armenian's Defense Ministry via AP)
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Updated 28 September 2020

Armenia’s parliament condemns ‘full-scale military attack’ by Azerbaijan

  • Saudi Arabia calls on both sides to cease fire
  • Turkey has said it will support Azerbaijan in the clashes

YEREVAN: Armenia’s parliament on Monday condemned what it said was a “full-scale military attack” by Azerbaijan on the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh and said Turkey’s involvement in the crisis could risk destabilizing the region.

“The international community should take active steps to prevent not only aggression by Azerbaijan, but also Turkey’s ambitions to be involved in the ... conflict which will lead to the region’s destabilization,” parliament speaker Ararat Mirzoyan said.

Azerbaijani and Armenian forces battled for a second day after dozens were killed in an outbreak of heavy fighting that has raised fears of an all-out war between the longtime enemies.

Defense officials in both countries confirmed that intense clashes had continued overnight after erupting on Sunday along the frontlines of Nagorny Karabakh, an ethnic Armenian region that has broken away from Azerbaijan.

The separatists said on Monday that 15 more of their fighters had been killed, bringing the total reported death toll from both sides to 39.

With each side blaming the other for the latest fighting, world leaders have urged calm as fears rise of a full-scale conflict that could draw in regional powers Russia and Turkey.

Saudi Arabia expressed their worry about the situation and called on both sides to cease fire and seek peaceful solutions to the conflict, state news agency SPA reported on Monday.

Turkey meanwhile said that Armenia must stop its occupation of Azerbaijan’s lands and send back the “mercenaries and terrorists” it brought from abroad for stability in the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

“Armenia must immediately halt its attacks, send back the mercenaries and terrorists it brought from abroad and withdraw from the Azerbaijan lands,” said Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, adding a ceasefire and peace are needed.

Turkey has said it will support Azerbaijan in the clashes, in which fierce fire was exchanged for a second day amid reports of at least 21 killed and hundreds wounded. Yerevan said Turkey was taking part in the clashes, but Baku denies this.

Ex-Soviet Armenia and Azerbaijan have been locked in a territorial dispute over Nagorny Karabakh for decades, with deadly fighting flaring up earlier this year and in 2016.

The region declared its independence after a war in the early 1990s that claimed 30,000 lives but is not recognized by any country — including Armenia — and is still considered part of Azerbaijan by the international community.

The Karabakh defense ministry said on Monday 32 of its fighters had been killed in the latest clashes. Seven civilian fatalities were reported earlier, including an Azerbaijani family of five and a woman and child on the Armenian side.


'It's good to see you:' Obama stumps in Pennsylvania for Biden campaign

Updated 15 min 4 sec ago

'It's good to see you:' Obama stumps in Pennsylvania for Biden campaign

  • Obama’s appearance on the campaign trail this week fills a gap left by Biden
  • More than 41 million ballots have been cast both via mail and in person

PHILADELPHIA: Former President Barack Obama made his first appearance on the campaign trail on Wednesday for Democratic nominee Joe Biden, who is locked in a tight race with President Donald Trump in crucial states with just 13 days to go in the campaign.
Obama, one of the Democratic Party’s biggest stars and a frequent target of Trump’s attacks, joined a roundtable discussion with Philadelphia Black male politicians and community and religious leaders before a 6 p.m. (2200 GMT) outdoor drive-in rally to urge supporters to vote early for Biden and other Democratic candidates.
“It’s good to see you,” Obama said, as he entered to applause from the 15 guests.
Obama’s appearance on the campaign trail this week fills a gap left by Biden, who has stayed at home in Delaware since Monday for meetings and preparation ahead of this week’s debate with Trump in Nashville, Tennessee. Biden was Obama’s vice president for eight years.
Americans are voting early at a record pace this year, with more than 41 million ballots cast both via mail and in person ahead of Election Day on Nov. 3, on concerns about the coronavirus and to make sure their votes are counted.
Trump will head to North Carolina, another battleground state where opinion polls show a tight race, for a rally on Wednesday evening.
The last days of campaigning are taking place amid a surge in new cases of COVID-19 and hospitalizations in battleground states, including North Carolina and Pennsylvania but also Wisconsin, Ohio and Michigan.
Pennsylvania has averaged 1,500 new cases a day over the past week, a level it has not seen since April, according to a Reuters analysis. North Carolina is averaging 2,000 new cases a day over the past week, its highest level ever.
Polling shows a majority of voters are disappointed in the way Trump has handled the pandemic, which he has repeatedly said would disappear on its own.
On a call organized by the Biden campaign and Texas Democrats on Wednesday, several Texas Republicans urged fellow conservatives to vote for Biden, citing the coronavirus crisis as well as Biden’s character.
“This is not a decision I took lightly. I love the GOP, and I love most GOP officials. But I love my country more,” said Jacob Monty, a Republican immigration lawyer who resigned from Trump’s national Hispanic advisory council in 2016.

Pennsylvania in the spotlight
Biden and Trump are scheduled to meet in their second and final debate on Thursday night, giving the Republican an opportunity to change the trajectory of a race that Biden is leading in national polls.
Biden’s campaign manager, Jen O’Malley Dillon, has warned staff and supporters she sees a far closer race in the 17 states the campaign considers battlegrounds than is suggested by the national polls showing he has a wide lead.
Biden believes he must win his birth state of Pennsylvania, which Democrats narrowly lost to Trump in 2016, and has visited it more than any other state during the campaign.
Trump has gained ground in Pennsylvania, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Monday, which showed the challenger leading by 49% to 45%, slightly narrower than a week earlier.
“If we win Pennsylvania, we win the whole thing,” Trump said on Tuesday at a rally in Erie, in the state’s northwestern corner.
The record early vote so far represents about 30% of the total ballots cast in 2016, according to the University of Florida’s US Elections Project.
Opinion polls and voting returns indicate that many of those early voters typically do not participate in elections but are coming off the sidelines this year to back Biden — or vote out Trump.
Trump, who has resumed a crowded schedule of rallies since recovering from his recent bout with COVID-19, will appear on Wednesday night at an airport rally in Gastonia, North Carolina.
Biden’s running mate, Kamala Harris, is also in North Carolina to mobilize voters in Asheville and Charlotte.