At least 64 Turkey-backed Syrians dead in Nagorno-Karabakh: monitor

At least 64 Turkey-backed Syrians dead in Nagorno-Karabakh: monitor
Both Turkey and Azerbaijan have denied the presence of Ankara-recruited Syrian mercenaries in Nagorno-Karabakh.
2 min read
Turkey is alleged to have sent more than 1,000 Syrian fighters to Azerbaijan [Getty]
At least 64 pro-Turkey Syrian rebel fighters have been killed in clashes between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces over Nagorno-Karabakh, a Britain-based war monitor said in a new toll on Saturday.

They were among the 1,200 combatants from pro-Ankara Syrian factions that Turkey has sent to fight for the Azeris since last week, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, updating its earlier figure of 850.

At least 36 of them have been killed in clashes in the past 48 hours alone, the Observatory added, increasing a previous toll of 28 to 64.

Armenia has accused Turkey of dispatching Syrian fighters to fight on the Azeri side in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, despite Azerbaijani and Turkish denials.

French President Emmanuel Macron demanded Friday that Turkey explain what he said was the arrival of jihadist fighters in Azerbaijan.

Intelligence reports had established that 300 Syrian fighters drawn from "jihadist groups" from the Syrian city of Aleppo had passed through Gaziantep in Turkey en route for Azerbaijan, he said.

In a statement on Saturday, the Syrian foreign ministry warned of "blatant Turkish interference" in the conflict.

"It aims to inflame the situation in a manner that is consistent with the Turkish regime's behaviour in more than one country, where it has created tension and fuelled the fire of sedition," said the statement, carried by the official SANA news agency.

Clashes have raged between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces since Sunday over Nagorno-Karabakh, an ethnic Armenian province that broke away from Baku in a bitterly fought war in the 1990s.

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