A reporter and photographer working for the French daily Le Monde have been wounded in fighting in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh, the newspaper told AFP Thursday.
News editor Luc Bronner confirmed that two of its journalists had been hurt after the Armenian foreign ministry said that they had been hit in a bombardment by Azerbaijan forces.
“Two French reporters from Le Monde were hurt at Martuni in the Artsakh region… they had been taken to hospital,” the ministry tweeted.
Two Armenian journalists were also hurt in the shelling, according to Armenian authorities.
Several journalists, including a team from AFP, were interviewing residents in Martuni and assessing damage from previous bombardments when the shelling started. No one in the AFP team was hurt.
Heavy fighting has been raging for four days after the long-running conflict over the region between Armenia and Azerbaijan reignited.
The death toll has been rising rapidly, with both sides reporting civilian casualties.
Armenia has recorded 104 military deaths and 23 civilians killed.
Azerbaijan’s defense ministry said its forces have killed 2,300 Karabakh separatist troops and “destroyed 130 tanks, 200 artillery units, 25 anti-aircraft units, five ammunition depots, 50 anti-tank units and 55 military vehicles.”
Armenia claimed that Azerbaijan had lost 130 troops while another 200 were wounded.
“Armenian armed forces destroyed 29 tanks and armored vehicles,” a defense ministry spokesman said.
The majority ethnic Armenian breakaway region declared independence from Azerbaijan after the fall of the Iron Curtain which sparked a war in the early 1990s that claimed 30,000 lives.
But it is still not recognized as independent by any country, including Armenia.
Talks to resolve the conflict have largely stalled since a 1994 ceasefire agreement.
Turkey Backs Azerbaijan Fight for ‘Occupied Lands’: Erdogan Aide
Turkey is “fully ready” to help Azerbaijan take back its separatist region of Nagorny Karabakh, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s top press aide said Tuesday ahead of a UN Security Council debate on the crisis.
The comments followed a call from Russia for Turkey, which views Azerbaijan as its close ally and Armenia as its historic foe, to stop proclaiming support for Azerbaijan and to work toward a diplomatic solution to the escalation, the deadliest since 2016.
“Turkey will be fully committed to helping Azerbaijan take back its occupied lands and to defending their rights and interests under international law,” Fahrettin Altun tweeted.
Turkey hoped the UN meeting “will establish a strong foundation for a solution”, he added.
Altun said Turkey stood by Azerbaijan “completely”, adding: “Let there be no doubt that the world will hear our roar if Azerbaijan were to suffer from the slightest injustice under international law.”
Armenia has accused Turkey of sending mercenaries to back Azerbaijani forces in the ethnically Armenian region, which Ankara has officially denied.
Altun in turn accused Armenia of violating the Geneva Conventions in the border region, praising Azerbaijan for “observing international law to the letter”.
“We call on global players to approach this matter from the perspective of fairness,” he said.
“The world cannot afford to equate the aggressor with the aggrieved party in the name of the so-called principle of neutrality or to preserve the political balance of power,” Altun said.