President Ilham Aliyev says missiles were launched from Armenia's Vardenis district, away from contested Karabakh region, raising civilian death toll to 41 with over 200 people wounded.

A woman waits for her relatives to be rescued near the site targeted by Armenian missiles, in Ganja, Azerbaijan, on October 11, 2020.
A woman waits for her relatives to be rescued near the site targeted by Armenian missiles, in Ganja, Azerbaijan, on October 11, 2020. (Reuters)

Azerbaijan has vowed a "befitting retaliation" against Armenian attacks on its civilians, with President Ilham Aliyev saying the fresh missile attacks on Ganja city came from Armenia's Vardenis district, nearly a 100 km from the bitterly contested Karabakh region.

"That missile attack was launched from Armenia's Vardenis district," Aliyev said of the attack that punctured the humanitarian ceasefire between both sides, killed nine people, and wounded dozens.

Aliyev said the death toll from Armenian attacks climbed to 41 civilians and over 200 people wounded. 

"The Armenian side aims to recapture the liberated territories. Armenia's political-military leadership bears responsibility for perpetrated crimes," he said.

"The Azerbaijani side will give a befitting retaliation!" 

'No military targets' in Ganja

Azerbaijan’s presidential aide Hikmet Hajiyev condemned the attack, saying there are no military targets in Azerbaijan's second-largest city.

"Ganja city is more than 100 kilometres away from the scene of military operations. What was the reason to attack the city? What was the reason to attack Mingechevir city of Azerbaijan?" questioned Hajiyev. 

"There are no military targets. It doesn't have the necessity, in no way it can be justified from the military necessity. But what we see here is just Armenia's purpose to kill civilians. Once again (it) shows the true face of Armenia," he added.

READ MORE: Armenian attack on Azerbaijani city leaves several dead

Turkey reacts with anger

Azerbaijani ally Turkey also reacted with anger on Sunday, demanding Russia rein in Armenia into obeying the humanitarian truce, and warning that Armenia was seeking "to widen the conflict outside of the Azerbaijani territories under occupation."

"At the same time, this attack once again shows that Armenia does not shy away from violating international humanitarian law for continuing its illegitimate occupation and does not understand the meaning of ceasefire," a Turkish Foreign Ministry statement said. 

Truce under strain

Ganja's attack has put the Russian-brokered truce under severe strain.

The ceasefire, clinched after marathon talks in Moscow advocated by President Vladimir Putin, was meant to halt fighting to allow ethnic Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh and Azeri forces to swap prisoners and war dead.

The Moscow talks were the first diplomatic contact between the two since fighting over the mountainous enclave erupted on September 27.

The enclave is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan, but was occupied by Armenia and is controlled by ethnic Armenians.

READ MORE: Azerbaijan: Armenia targets civilians in breach of Karabakh truce

Source: TRTWorld and agencies