MOSCOW — Azerbaijani forces have taken control of the strategically key city of Shushi in Nagorno-Karabakh where fighting with Armenia has raged for more than a month, the country’s president said Sunday.
In a televised address to the nation, President Ilham Aliyev said “Shusha is ours — Karabakh is ours,” using the Azerbaijani version of the city’s name.
“Neither side fully owns the initiative,” he said.
Nagorno-Karabakh's emergencies committee also reported strong fighting in other parts of the region, including the large eastern town of Martuni.
Shushi is of significant military value because it sits on heights about 10
Along with its strategic value, Shushi is culturally significant as a onetime
Aliyev's claim that the city had been taken set off widespread celebrations in the capital, Baku.
Nagorno-Karabakh is within Azerbaijan, but has been under the control of local ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since 1994. The latest outbreak of fighting started on Sept. 27 and has left hundreds — if not thousands — dead.
Aliyev vowed to continue the fighting until Armenia withdraws from the territory.
Azerbaijan’s chief ally Turkey welcomed the claimed victory.
“The joy of our Azerbaijani brothers who liberated their occupied cities and Karabakh step by step is also our joy,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at a rally in the northwestern city of Kocaeli.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and
The Associated Press