Baku frees 17 more villages from Armenia's occupation

Azerbaijani army liberates 17 villages of Zangilan, Jabrayil, Gubadli districts and Gubadli city

Baku frees 17 more villages from Armenia's occupation

Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev on Monday announced the names of villages liberated from Armenia's occupation a day earlier.

The Azerbaijani army liberated the Birinji Alibayli, Ikinji Alibayli, Raband and Yenikand villages of Zangilan district, the Govshudlu, Sofulu, Dagh Mashanli, Kurdlar, Hovuslu, Chalabilar villages of Jabrayil district and the Padar, Afandilar, Yusifbayli, Chaytumas, Khanlig, Sariyatag, Mollaburhan villages of Gubadli district and the city of Gubadli, state news agency Azertac quoted the president as saying.

In an earlier tweet, Aliyev said Baku had taken control of seven border villages without giving their names.

Relations between the two former Soviet republics have been tense since 1991 when the Armenian military occupied Upper Karabakh, or Nagorno-Karabakh, an internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan, and the seven adjacent regions.

However, border clashes since July have brought the two countries to the brink of war. Escalations stopped momentarily with subsequent cease-fires this month which were broken each time with the Armenian side.

Four UN Security Council resolutions and two from the UN General Assembly as well as international organizations demand the "immediate complete and unconditional withdrawal of the occupying forces" from the occupied Azerbaijani territory.

In total, about 20% of Azerbaijan's territory has been under illegal Armenian occupation for nearly three decades.

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe 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. A cease-fire, however, was agreed to in 1994.

World powers, including Russia, France, and the US, have called for a new and lasting cease-fire. Turkey, meanwhile, has supported Baku's right to self-defense and demanded the withdrawal of Armenia's occupying forces.