Officials from Armenia and Azerbaijan have reported that clashes took place around the provinces of Tavush (Armenia) and Tovuz (Azerbaijan) Thursday, July 16. The flare-up, which involved an exchange of artillery fire between the two countries, came despite a ceasefire which was established on Wednesday, July 15. Both sides have blamed the other for the resumption of hostilities, with military positions and villages being targeted on both sides of the border. Artillery exchanges reportedly continued into early Thursday afternoon.
Further clashes are likely in coming days, and a heightened security presence is likely along the Azeri-Armenian border.
Azerbaijan and neighboring Armenia have a long-standing dispute over the possession of Nagorno-Karabakh, home to some 150,000 inhabitants (mostly ethnic Armenians) and located in the west of Azerbaijan. This issue has fueled tensions between the two countries since 1988; some 30,000 people were killed in fighting from 1990 to 1994. The two countries declared another ceasefire in April 2016 after the region experienced four days of violent clashes that left hundreds dead. Tensions between the two countries remain high and each side frequently accuses the other of violating the ceasefire agreement.
Renewed cross-border clashes between Armenian and Azeri forces broke out in the Tavush area on Sunday, July 12. At least 11 Azeri and four Armenian troops, in addition to an Azeri civilian, have been killed since fighting in the area began.
Western governments generally advise their citizens against all travel to Nagorno-Karabakh and the Azerbaijan-Armenia border. Those in Armenia are advised to monitor developments to the situation, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments.
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