Azerbaijani forces kill Karabakh soldier: Rebels

 Azerbaijani troops killed an ethnic Armenian soldier in fresh clashes on Thursday with fighters from the breakaway Nagorny Karabakh region, the rebel defence ministry said.

Yerevan: Azerbaijani troops killed an ethnic Armenian soldier in fresh clashes on Thursday with fighters from the breakaway Nagorny Karabakh region, the rebel defence ministry said.

"Private Mger Akopian, 24, was fatally wounded on September 18 while on duty" on the volatile frontline that divides Azerbaijani and Karabakh forces, the separatist defence ministry said in a statement.

Last month simmering tensions between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorny Karabakh boiled over, killing more than 20 troops -- the fiercest clashes since a ceasefire was agreed in 1994.

The August skirmishes sparked fears that one of the bloodiest post-Soviet wars could reignite, although the violence has since subsided.

Azerbaijani and rebel troops regularly exchange fire across the flashpoint frontier and both sides repeatedly accuse each other of tit-for-tat raids.

Armenia-backed separatists seized Nagorny Karabakh from Azerbaijan in a 1990s war that killed 30,000 people. Despite years of negotiations since the 1994 ceasefire, the two sides have yet to sign a peace deal.

Azerbaijan has threatened to take back the disputed region by force if negotiations do not yield results, while Armenia has vowed to retaliate against any military action.

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