Azerbaijan has launched a military operation against Yerevan-backed terror groups in Karabakh region, warning it would "continue until the end" in the territory, over which it has fought two wars with neighbouring Armenia.
Tuesday's operation came as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told world leaders at the 78th session of the UN General Assembly that Karabakh is Azerbaijani territory, asserting that the imposition of any other status for the region "would never be accepted."
"We have supported the negotiation process between Azerbaijan and Armenia from the beginning. However, we see that Armenia has not fully seized this historic opportunity," Erdogan said.
The Armenian armed forces stationed in Azerbaijan's Karabakh region must be disarmed, the Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev's aide said.
"Illegal separatist puppet regime must dissolve itself, and the Armenian armed forces stationed in the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan must be disarmed," Hikmet Hajiyev said on Tuesday on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.
"Rights and security of civilians of Armenian descent in the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan will be provided under the Constitution and international obligations of Azerbaijan," Hajiyev added.
He said that his country "applies precision-guided munitions against legitimate military targets and, by all means, avoids collateral damage to civilians."
Baku tells terrorists to surrender
Azerbaijan said a construction worker was killed by shrapnel in the town of Shusha and another civilian in the Aghdam district.
Baku said it would fight until the terrorists surrendered.
"Illegal Armenian armed forces must raise the white flag," Azerbaijan's presidency said.
"Otherwise, the anti-terrorist measures will continue until the end."
The Azerbaijani Defence Ministry said that its "anti-terror activities" in Karabakh are meant to "suppress large-scale provocations in the Karabakh economic region, to disarm and secure the withdrawal of formations of Armenia's armed forces from our territories."
Azerbaijan said it has taken control of more than 60 military positions during "localised anti-terrorist measures".
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan called it a "ground offensive".
As angry protesters clashed with police in Armenia's capital Yerevan, calling on Pashinyan to resign, the country's security council warned of large-scale unrest.
"There is currently a real danger of mass turmoil in the Republic of Armenia," it said in a statement, vowing to take "effective measures" to maintain constitutional order.
More than 30 people were injured in the clashes, with 16 people hospitalised, the Armenian Health Ministry said.
In a televised address, Pashinyan warned: "We must not allow certain people, certain forces to deal a blow to the Armenian state.
"There are already calls, coming from different places, to stage a coup in Armenia," the prime minister said.
Relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia have been tense since 1991 when the Armenian military occupied Karabakh, a territory internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.
In the fall of 2020, Azerbaijan liberated several cities, villages, and settlements from Armenian occupation during 44 days of clashes. The war ended with a Russia-brokered ceasefire.
Tensions between the two nations, however, continue despite ongoing talks over a long-term peace agreement.