BAKU/YEREVAN: At least 10 people were killed in skirmishes between Azeri government forces and ethnic Armenian separatists controlling the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh enclave of Azerbaijan, officials from both sides said on Friday.
The recurring violence around Nagorno-Karabakh, a mountainous majority Armenian area, underlined the risk of broader conflict in the South Caucasus where vital oil and natural gas flow from the Caspian region to Europe.
Energy-producing Azerbaijan frequently threatens to take Nagorno-Karabakh back by force, and is spending heavily on its armed forces. Armenia, an ex-Soviet republic and an ally of Moscow, has warned it would intervene if Nagorno-Karabakh were overrun.
Fighting between ethnic Azeris and Armenians first erupted in 1991 and a ceasefire was called in 1994. But Azerbaijan and Armenia have regularly traded accusations of further violence around Nagorno-Karabakh and along the Azeri-Armenian border.
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