Violent clashes have erupted for over 25 years in the Armenian ethnic settlement in Azerbaijan.
At least 26 fighters were killed in clashes with the Azerbaijani army in the displaced area of Nagorno-Karabakh, and in fierce battles for more than 25 years, their military death toll increased to 84.
Al Jazeera also learned that the total number of civilians killed on Tuesday rose to 9 in Azerbaijan and 2 in Armenia, bringing the total number of deaths to 95.
“This is a life-and-death war,” said Arayik Harutyunyan, leader of Nagorno-Karabakh, at a news briefing, Reuters said.
Officials in Baku and Yerevan said Monday that fierce clashes continued throughout the day.
On Monday evening, Azerbaijani forces launched “a massive offensive in the southern and northeastern regions of the Karabakh front,” said Armenian Defense Ministry spokesman Atsrun Hobani Xian.
In a statement late Monday, the Karabakh Defense Ministry said “26 people in the Karabakh Defense Forces were killed.”
World leaders urged the battle to cease after the worst expansion since 2016 sparked the ghost of another war between former Soviet rivals Armenia and Azerbaijan.
The UN Security Council is scheduled to hold an emergency talks, privately, late Tuesday after pushing France and Germany to include the matter on the agenda.
Decades of conflict
Armenia and Azerbaijan have been trapped in territorial disputes after about 30,000 people have died since the 1990s, when Karabakh, an Armenian ethnic settlement within Azerbaijan, declared independence after the war.
The independence of Nagorno-Karabakh is not recognized in any country and is considered part of Azerbaijan by the international community.
Azerbaijan has not disclosed information on military casualties since the recent outbreak of combat.
The fight between Azerbaijan and Armenia could destabilize a wider area and confuse countries, including Russia and Turkey.
Russia, which has formed a military alliance with Armenia, sells billions of dollars of sophisticated weapons to Baku and Yerevan.
Armenia accused Turkey of intervening in the conflict, supporting Turkic-speaking Azerbaijani.
More risk of civilian casualties
Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesman Anna Naghdalyan said Turkish military experts are fighting alongside Azerbaijan and Turkey has provided drones and fighters.
Azerbaijan denied the charges, and Turkey urged the fight to cease.
Talks to settle one of the worst conflicts arising from the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 were largely halted due to the 1994 ceasefire agreement.
France, Russia and the United States have mediated peace efforts under the Minsk Group, but the last big push for peace negotiations collapsed in 2010.
“We haven’t seen anything like this since the war ceased in the 1990s. This fight is happening on every part of the front,” said Olesia Barthayan, senior analyst in the South Caucasus region of the International Crisis Group.
Vartanyan said the use of rockets and artillery would increase the risk of civilian casualties, making it difficult to halt the expansion by diplomatic means.
Russia called for an immediate ceasefire, and Turkey said it would support Azerbaijan.
Turkish President Recep Taif Erdogan demanded that Armenia immediately abandon Azerbaijani land, and he said it was time to end the Nagorno-Karabakh crisis.