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Turkey accused of dangerous provocation after troops mobilised for war games exercises in Azerbaijan

TURKEY was accused today of a dangerous provocation after its troops joined Azerbaijani military exercises close to the Armenian border.

Armenian military spokeswoman Shushan Stepanyan said that Yerevan was closely monitoring “Turkish-Azerbaijani war games” which began today and will last until August 10.

Defence Minister Davit Tonoyan said that Armenian and Russian military units were analysing operations and were “prepared for any development of the situation.”

Ms Stepanyan confirmed that a tentative ceasefire had been breached by Azeri forces 22 times overnight, with 497 shots fired towards Armenian positions.

“The Armenian villages of Movses, Nerkin Karmiraghbyur, Shiva, Yeraskh and Zangakatun were subjected to enemy fire,” she said.

Russian online publication Avia-pro reported that Turkish-made drones had been used in attacks on Armenian positions close to the border.

It was not specific on the time or date of the attacks which it said were made by the unmanned Turkish Bayraktar TB2 attack vehicles.

“The military command of Armenia paid great attention to this issue, especially against the background of Turkey’s threats to occupy the territory of Armenia,” the report stated.

It has been claimed that Turkey has also mobilised jihadist militia from the battlefields of Syria to join forces with the Azerbaijani military.

Ankara is operating as Nato’s battering ram across the region. It has used myriad Islamist groups to invade and occupy Kurdish regions of northern Syria, while sending thousands to fight on the side of the UN-backed government in Libya, swinging the civil war back in its favour.

Turkish troops were welcomed into Azerbaijan in a ceremony on Tuesday and will be stationed in the capital Baku and the border area of Nakhchivan.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that exercises would see artillery and munitions fired at “hypothetical military targets,” blaming Armenia for attacking Azerbaijani lands.

But Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan insists that Armenia has agreed to “all proposals of the international mediators to strengthen the ceasefire by putting on the ground more monitors and introducing investigative mechanisms into ceasefire violations.”

Territorial disputes between Azerbaijan and Armenia date back to before they became Soviet republics in the early 1920s, and flared again as the Soviet Union began to disintegrate in the late 1980s.

A six-year war began in 1988 over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, a landlocked area inside Azerbaijan whose Armenian majority voted to join Yerevan in a referendum boycotted by Azerbaijan.

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