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Turkish armed drones used against Armenia, Azerbaijan confirms

Acknowledgement comes amid increasing aerial campaign by Baku against Armenian targets in Nagorno-Karabakh
A Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 drone, pictured in Northern Cyprus (AFP)
By in
Istanbul

Azerbaijan has acknowledged for the first time that it had been using Turkish-produced armed drones against Armenian targets in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Explained: Armenia and Azerbaijan's Nagorno-Karabakh conflict
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“Thanks to advanced Turkish drones owned by the Azerbaijan military, our casualties on the front shrunk,” said Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev in a televised interview on Monday with the Turkish news channel TRT Haber. "These drones show Turkey’s strength. It also empowers us.”

Heavy fighting broke out last week between Azerbaijan and Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed mountainous area, and clashes are ongoing. Scores have been killed on both sides.

Several social media users, including a Twitter account called Clash Report that is considered to be close to the Turkish state, have speculated that the drones were Bayraktar TB2, the same type Turkey has deployed against Russian weaponry in Syria’s Idlib and Libya.

Aliyev, in the same speech, said Baku was intending to transform its military and mimic the Turkish army in its organisation and strength.

Turkey and Azerbaijan’s militaries recently conducted a joint drill in August, where Turkish officers shared the experience and expertise they have developed in recent years in the Syrian and Libya conflicts. Some in Ankara speculated that Turkey left some of its military staff there to continue to bolster Azerbaijan’s military.

Turkish sources told Defense News in June that Azerbaijan was interested in buying Bayraktar TB2 drones. Sources familiar with the issue told Middle East Eye that the order was for six units.