The Azerbaijani Defence Ministry yesterday accused Armenia of using mercenaries from Syria and Lebanon to fight alongside its forces in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Russia's RIA Novosti news agency quoted the head of the International Military Cooperation Department in the Azerbaijani Defence Ministry, Major General Hossein Mammadov, as saying that no foreign militants were fighting alongside his country in Karabakh, however, he claimed that foreign fighters were operating alongside rival Armenia.
"There are no and there can be no mercenaries on our side, but they are on the other side, and this is what the Armenians themselves have admitted to. The talk is about armed men from Syria and Lebanon," Mammadov said, adding that the Azerbaijani army is well prepared and does not suffer from any shortage of soldiers.
"We have a professional army and we are successfully achieving the stated goals," he said.
Tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan have spiralled in recent weeks due to renewed border clashes over the region occupied by Armenia, in which both Azeri and Armenian forces have conducted attacks on military positions and civilian areas. The clashes prompted Azerbaijan to declare a state of war in some of its cities and areas near the border on 27 September.