UPDATES DECK, ADDS MORE STATEMENTS OF AZERBAIJANI PRESIDENT, EDITS THROUGHOUT
By Jeyhun Aliyev
ANKARA (AA) - Those trying to intimidate Azerbaijan will regret it, Azerbaijani leader said Sunday, referring to Armenian army's large-scale military provocations on the frontline early morning.
President Ilham Aliyev in his address to the nation said Armenian armed forces fired on Azerbaijani settlements and military positions from several directions, using various types of weaponry, including heavy artillery.
"As a result of the enemy fire, there are casualties among the civilian population and our servicemen. Some people have been wounded. May Allah rest our martyrs in peace," he said, without mentioning any specific numbers on casualties.
Aliyev vowed to avenge the blood of martyrs, saying the Azerbaijani army continues retaliation on Armenian military positions, and that many units of its military equipment have been destroyed.
"This is another manifestation of Armenian fascism," he said, adding that besides the attacks, Armenia continues its illegal settlements in Azerbaijani territories.
Relations between the two former Soviet republics have been tense since 1991 when Armenian military occupied the Upper Karabakh, or Nagorno-Karabakh region, an internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan.
Multiple UN resolutions, as well as many international organizations, demand the withdrawal of occupying forces from Upper Karabakh and seven other occupied Azerbaijani regions.
The OSCE Minsk Group -- co-chaired by France, Russia and the US -- was formed in 1992 to find a peaceful solution to the conflict, but to no avail despite several meetings.
- Armenian occupational plans
Aliyev said Armenia plans to further occupy Azerbaijani lands and "does not conceal that."
"Its military-political leadership tried to threaten Azerbaijan with a new occupation, a new policy of occupation of new territories,” he said. "Azerbaijan will defend its territory, [Upper] Karabakh belongs to Azerbaijan."
The head of state argued that the cease-fire violation was meant to distract the people from grave social and economic problems in Armenia, and "portray Azerbaijan as an enemy."
"It is also doing this to disrupt the [Minsk group] negotiations, and has largely succeeded," he said. "It is the result of of its hypocritical, non-constructive and false policy."
He clarified that Baku has no military targets in Armenia, and this is why there is a cease-fire, which was agreed in 1994, in place.
- Earlier violations
The president said Armenia's military provocations against Azerbaijan have become regular of late.
This July, the Armenian army attacked Azerbaijani positions on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border with artillery fire, martyring 12 Azerbaijani soldiers, including high-ranking officers.
"It is no secret that the first fire, including artillery fire, was opened by Armenia, and the first victims were Azerbaijani servicemen. Azerbaijan gave a fitting reply to the enemy and they could not move an inch forward. The enemy was stopped and the territorial integrity of our country was protected," Aliyev said.
On Sept. 21, clashes in the region flared up again when an Azerbaijani soldier was martyred, and another injured.