Nagorno-Karabakh: Azerbaijan accuses Armenia of killing over 21 civilians by cluster bombs
Azerbaijan has accused Armenia of using cluster munitions in two days of attacks, killing at least 25 people and wounding dozens in Barda, eastern Azerbaijan, near Nagorno-Karabakh.
Azerbaijani presidential spokesman Hikmet Hajiyev said Armenian forces had “used cluster munitions to inflict excessive casualties among civilians” in Barda, in central Azerbaijan.
Armenia has denied carrying out the attack and accused Azerbaijan of targeting a maternity ward in the area.
However, Wednesday’s strike marked the deadliest reported attack on civilians in a month of fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh.
Barda-based activist Ulviyya Babasoy said decried the targeting of civilians.
“I saw dead bodies, injured people, everything was ruined,” she told Al Jazeera.
“After the things l witnessed today, I don’t know how we will continue our normal lives, it is so hard after all of this. l believe that civilians should not be targeted in war. This is a crime, terrorism. Stop it, Armenia.”
Images posted on social media showed damage to streets and vehicles with what appeared to be several bodies in body bags laid out on the road.
Azerbaijani interior ministry said the attack was a gross violation of international humanitarian law, and that the Armenian government should accept responsibility.
Police officers and other service personnel were sent to Barda to help transport the injured to the hospital, as well as provide additional security in the town, the ministry added.
In a separate statement, Karabakh officials said Azerbaijani forces had struck a maternity hospital and other “civil infrastructure” in the territory’s city of Stepanakert.
The Nagorno-Karabakh’s defense ministry has recorded 1,119 military deaths since fighting erupted on September 27.
Meanwhile, Azerbaijan has not disclosed its military casualties, however, Russia has estimated as many as 5,000 deaths in total.