UN human rights experts noted the agreement reached on 9 November to put an end to hostilities in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and hope that it will lead to sustained peace in the region. They are nonetheless concerned by the use of mercenaries in and around the conflict zone until this agreement was reached, and expressed alarm at the devastating consequences for the civilian population, with little prospects of accountability, ARMENPRESS reports, citing the official website of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The UN Working Group on the use of mercenaries said there were widespread reports that the Government of Azerbaijan, with Turkey’s assistance, relied on Syrian fighters to shore-up and sustain its military operations in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone, including on the frontline. The fighters appeared to be motivated primarily by private gain, given the dire economic situation in the Syrian Arab Republic, the UN experts said. In case of death, their relatives were reportedly promised financial compensation and Turkish nationality.

Since the resumption of hostilities on 27 September 2020 and up to the latest ceasefire, the Working Group has been increasingly concerned about repeated reports of deliberate and indiscriminate attacks in populated areas in and around the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone, as well as other areas away from the fighting, which has led to a mounting number of civilian casualties, including children. Considerable damage to civilian property and infrastructure, including schools and hospitals, has also been widely reported; as well as incidents involving journalists.

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