Armenia and Azerbaijan clash as Iran works on peace plan

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People walk inside a building, destroyed by shelling by Armenian forces in Barda, Azerbaijan, Monday, Oct. 5, 2020. The fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces over the separatist territory of Nagorno-Karabakh resumed Monday, with both sides accusing each other of launching attacks. The region lies in Azerbaijan but has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since the end of a separatist war in 1994. (Unal Cam/DHA via AP)

YEREVAN – Armenia accused Azerbaijan of firing missiles into the capital of the separatist territory of Nagorno-Karabakh on Monday, while Azerbaijan said several of its towns and its second-largest city were attacked.

Iran, which borders both countries, said it was working on a peace plan for the decades-old conflict, which reignited last month and has killed scores of people on both sides.

The region of Nagorno-Karabakh lies inside Azerbaijan but has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since the end of a separatist war in 1994.

Armenian military officials reported missile strikes in the territorial capital of Stepanakert, which came under intense attacks all weekend. Residents told the Russian state RIA Novosti news agency that parts of the city were suffering shortages of electricity and gas after the strikes.

The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry, in turn, accused Armenian forces of shelling the towns of Tartar, Barda and Beylagan. Ganja, the country's second-largest city far outside the conflict zone, also was “under fire,” officials said.

Hikmet Hajiyev, aide to Azeirbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, tweeted that Armenian forces attacked “densely populated civilian areas" in Ganja, Barda, Beylagan and other towns “with missiles and rockets."

Armenia's Foreign Ministry dismissed allegations of attacks being launched from Armenia's territory as a “disinformation campaign” by Azerbaijan. Nagorno-Karabakh officials didn't comment on the accusations, but warned on both Sunday and Monday that the territory's forces would target military facilities in Azerbaijani cities in response to strikes on Stepanakert.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the escalating violence and again urged an immediate halt to hostilities, stressing that there is no military solution to the conflict, his spokesman said.