Azerbaijani armed forces liberate settlements, strategic heights (UPDATE)
Details added (first version posted on 17:04)
Baku, Azerbaijan, Apr. 2
A breakthrough of the forefront defense line of the Armenian army has been achieved, several strategic heights and settlements released on Apr. 2, Azerbaijani defense ministry said in a statement.
The breakthrough took place in the result of counter-attack of the Azerbaijani army on the frontline, according to the ministry.
Six Armenian tanks, 15 gun mounts and reinforced engineering structures have been destroyed and more than 100 servicemen of the Armenian armed forces were wounded and killed during the fights, the ministry said.
Twelve servicemen of the Azerbaijani armed forces heroically died, one Mi-24 helicopter was shot down and one tank damaged by a mine, according to the ministry.
The leadership of the defense ministry expresses its condolences to the families of the deceased servicemen of the Azerbaijani armed forces.
The counter-attack was made following provocations of the Armenian armed forces on the night of April 2, which resulted in deaths and injuries of civilians. The decision on the response measures on the Aghdere-Terter-Aghdam and Khojavand-Fuzuli directions was made by the command of the Azerbaijani armed forces.
As a result of the operation, the heights near the village of Talish, which were posing a threat to the Goranboy district and Naftalan city, as well as the Seysulan settlement, have been cleared of the enemy forces.
In order to protect the city of Horadiz, the Azerbaijani army took the height 'Lale Tepe' under its control, which allowed to carry out supervision of a large area.
At present, strengthening work is being held at these altitudes, trenches constructed.
The ministry of defense of Azerbaijan highly appreciated the combat skills, military experience and morale of its personnel.
The ministry also said that if Armenia repeats attempts to violate the ceasefire, more powerful and devastating blows will be inflicted upon the enemy.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.
The two countries signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Russia, France and the US are currently holding peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented the UN Security Council's four resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.