Azerbaijan says 2,783 troops killed over Nagorno-Karabakh

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A Russian peacekeeper guars an enter of the Dadivank, an Armenian Apostolic Church monastery dating to the 9th century, after the transfer of the Kalbajar region to Azerbaijan's control, as part of a peace deal that required Armenian forces to cede the Azerbaijani territories they held outside Nagorno-Karabakh, near Kalbajar, Azerbaijan, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020. A Russia-brokered peace deal that took effect Nov. 10 obliged Armenian forces to hand over all of the Azerbaijani regions they held outside Nagorno-Karabakh, including the Kalbajar region. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

BAKU – Azerbaijan said Thursday it lost nearly 2,800 soldiers in 44 days of fighting with Armenian forces over the separatist territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, the first time it has disclosed its military casualties.

The hostilities ended Nov. 10 with a Russia-brokered peace deal that saw Azerbaijan reclaim the territories that Armenian forces had controlled for more than a quarter-century.

Azerbaijan had not released information on its military casualties until Thursday when the Defense Ministry said 2,783 troops were killed and more than 100 are still missing. Another 1,245 are being treated in medical facilities.

The government also said 94 of its civilians were killed and more than 400 were wounded in shelling.

Armenia’s Health Ministry said Wednesday that at least 2,718 Armenian servicemen were killed in the fighting. Scores of Armenian civilians were also killed.

Nagorno-Karabakh lies within Azerbaijan but has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since a separatist war there ended in 1994. That war left Nagorno-Karabakh itself and substantial surrounding territory in Armenian hands.

In fierce fighting that began Sept. 27, the Azerbaijani army routed Armenian forces and pushed deep into the separatist territory.

The Moscow-brokered peace agreement saw the return to Azerbaijan of a significant part of Nagorno-Karabakh and also required Armenia to hand over all of the regions it held outside the separatist territory. Azerbaijan completed reclaiming those territories on Tuesday when it took over the Lachin region located between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia.