The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is voicing concern about the humanitarian consequences of the Armenia-Azerbaijan clash as the two nations remain mired in conflict after two days of border clashes.
Each side is blaming the other for the clashes. Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev said, “Armenia’s political and military leadership will bear the entire responsibility for the provocation.” Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian said Azerbaijan is responsible for “provocations” that will “not go unanswered.”
The conflict has turned deadly again. Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry reported that 11 members of its armed forces were killed, and many wounded. Armenia's Defense Ministry reported three soldiers and two police officers wounded in the conflict.
The ICRC is worried these clashes put civilians in harm's way, preventing them from going about their lives safely.
"We call on the sides to respect the basic rules of international humanitarian law and, while conducting military operations, take all precautions necessary to ensure that civilian life and infrastructure, such as homes, schools and medical facilities, are respected and protected", said Martin Schuepp, ICRC director of the operations for the region. "We are ready to act as a neutral intermediary between the parties and assist those affected by the recent escalation of fighting."
The two countries are fighting over the region of Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed territory but internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, although recent skirmishes have been centered on the border of Armenia's Tavush region.
The ICRC began its involvement in the region during the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in the 1990s, and it works to help people living on the borders between the two countries.