Azerbaijan reported that three of its troops and nine Armenian soldiers were killed during clashes Sunday in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. Armenia denies the losses and says more than 10 Azerbaijani troops were killed. This is only the latest incident in a year marked by a dramatic increase in hostilities between the two neighbors.
The conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia began in 1988 when the Armenian majority in Nagorno-Karabakh, which was then an autonomous province of the Soviet republic of Azerbaijan, started a movement calling for unification with Armenia. Regional violence became a full-fledged war after Armenia and Azerbaijan became independent states following the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991.
As Laurence Boers wrote in his August 2014 feature for World Politics Review:
Armenians see the conflict as a self-determination struggle by the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh against their unjust incorporation into Soviet Azerbaijan in the early 1920s, and against heavy-handed Azerbaijani rule ever since. Azerbaijanis portray the conflict as a campaign of territorial conquest waged by Armenia.
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