Turkish military experts begin clearing mines in Nagorno-Karabakh


Turkey’s Defense Ministry said Wednesday that 136 members of its Special Mine Detection and Clearance Team (OMAT) had begun clearing areas of Nagorno-Karabakh of mines following its liberation from Armenian occupation.

“Clearing of mines and handmade explosives continues in (territories of) Karabakh which were heroically and selflessly liberated from Armenian occupation by the Azerbaijani Armed Forces,” the ministry said in a statement on its website.

It added that the specialized Turkish troops would also train Azerbaijani soldiers in mine detection and clearance techniques.

The Turkish military has also helped clear mines planted by forces loyal to putschist Gen. Khalifa Haftar in Libya upon the request of the United Nations-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA).

Relations between the former Soviet republics of Azerbaijan and Armenia have been tense since 1991, when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, a territory recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.

New clashes erupted on Sept. 27, and the Armenian Army launched attacks on civilians and Azerbaijani forces, violating several humanitarian cease-fire agreements.

During the 44-day conflict, Azerbaijan liberated several cities and nearly 300 settlements and villages from occupation.

The two countries signed a Russia-brokered agreement on Nov. 10 to end the fighting and work toward a comprehensive resolution.