UPDATED: Azerbaijan declares partial military mobilisation amid reports of Syrian fighters involvement

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Azerbaijan declared a partial military mobilisation on Monday following clashes with Armenian forces over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

See also: Armenia Accuses Turkey Of Direct Military Support For Azerbaijan

Azeri President Ilham Aliyev signed a decree on mobilisation on the second day of clashes which the two sides, which fought a war over Nagorno-Karabakh in the 1990s, blame on each other and in which both have reported fatalities.

Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, a breakaway region that is inside Azerbaijan but run by ethnic Armenians, declared martial law and mobilised their male populations on Sunday. 

Earlier, Armenian Defence Ministry said it was checking reports about combatants from Syria who are allegedly fighting for the Azerbaijan’s side in clashes over the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh province.

Hikmet Hajiyev, the foreign policy aide to the Azeri president, dismissed the report carried by the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights as “nonsense”.

A still photo taken from handout video made available by the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Armenia shows defeat of Azerbaijani armoured vehicles at Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, on a border of Armenia and Azerbaijan. EPA-EFE/ARMENIA DEFENCE MINISTRY PRESS SERVICE

At least 16 military and several civilians were killed on Sunday in the heaviest clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan since 2016, reigniting concern about stability in the South Caucasus, a corridor for pipelines carrying oil and gas to world markets.

President Donald Trump said on Sunday that the United States would seek to stop violence which has ignited between Armenia and Azerbaijan, two former Soviet republics which fought a war in the 1990s.

“We’re looking at it very strongly,” the president said in a Sunday evening press briefing. “We have a lot of good relationships in that area. We’ll see if we can stop it.”

Fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijan forces over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh continued on Monday morning with the deployment of heavy artillery on both sides, they said.

The Armenian defence ministry reported fighting throughout the night, while Azerbaijan’s defence ministry said Armenian forces were shelling the town of Terter.