Azerbaijan and Armenia reject the international appeal for dialogue, which deepens fears of an all-out war.
Heavy bombardment between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces was reported in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region as the fighting raged for a fifth day. Both sides refused to step down and heed the international calls for talks.
The most violent clashes between Armenian and Azerbaijani armed forces in the breakaway region in years were ignited on Sunday, killing numerous sides from both sides.
The General Prosecutor’s Office of Azerbaijan announced on Thursday that the morning Armenian shelling killed a civilian in the city of Terter, about 90 km from Nagorno-Karabakh, and seriously damaged the train station there.
Separately, the country’s defense ministry said its armed forces had “suppressed artillery strikes against positions of the Armenian armed forces in the occupied territories” all night.
In the town of Stepanakert in Nagorno-Karabakh, also known as Khankendi, two explosions were heard around midnight as sirens sounded, the AFP news agency reported, adding that residents had claimed the town had been attacked by drones.
Ethnic Armenian officials in the region described the overnight situation along the front as “tense” and said the two sides had exchanged artillery fire.
“The enemy tried to regroup their troops, but the Armenian armed forces suppressed all such attempts,” they said.
The Armenian authorities also said that two French nationals who worked as journalists for Le Monde were injured in the shelling by Azerbaijani forces in the Armenian city of Martuni, west of Nagorno-Karabakh region, on Thursday.
The reporters were taken to the hospital, the authorities said in a statement.
Nagorno-Karabakh’s declaration of independence from Azerbaijan sparked a war in the early 1990s in which 30,000 people were killed. However, it is not recognized as independent by any country, including Armenia.
Armenia and the breakaway region declared martial law and military mobilization last week, while Azerbaijan imposed military rule and curfew in major cities.
Talks to resolve the conflict have largely stalled since a 1994 ceasefire agreement. France, Russia and the United States brokered peace efforts as the “Minsk Group”, but the last major push for a peace agreement collapsed in 2010.
The two sides claim to have inflicted heavy losses on opposing forces in the conflict, which risks attracting regional powers like Turkey and Russia to support the opposing sides.
Yerevan, which is part of a Moscow-led military alliance of former Soviet countries, has accused Turkey of sending mercenaries from northern Syria to strengthen Azerbaijan’s armed forces in the conflict and fears that members of illegal armed groups, including Syria and Libya, were used to fight. The claims have been refuted by Azerbaijan.
Yerevan also said earlier this week that a Turkish F-16 flying in support of Baku’s forces shot down an Armenian SU-25 fighter jet, but Ankara and Baku denied the claim.
Al Jazeera’s Bernard Smith, reporting from the Armenian capital, said there were fears that the clashes could lead to an all-out war.
“There have already been clashes outside Nagorno-Karabakh in the border areas between Armenia and Azerbaijan,” said Smith.
Al Jazeera has not been able to independently verify the claims made by either party.
Despite increasing international pressure, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev rejected the idea of holding talks, despite demanding a stop on Kampfberg.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron called on Wednesday late on the phone to end the fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh and agreed to step up diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict.