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Azeri forces accused of beheading Armenian soldier

AZERI soldiers have been accused of beheading an Armenian and taunting the victim’s family by posting a photo of his decapitated head on social media, human rights defenders said today.

Human Rights Defenders of Armenia spokesman Arman Tatoyan said the incident took place on Friday when a member of Azerbaijan’s armed forces phoned the brother of an Armenian soldier and said he had been captured.

Azerbaijani troops then beheaded the Armenian and posted the photo on his brother’s Facebook page.

The perpetrators used the Armenian soldier’s mobile phone to make two calls, Mr Tatoyan said, reporting the “cruel and terroristic methods.”

The shocking execution follows the emergence of video footage that appears to show jihadist groups wearing Azeri military uniforms on the front line of the conflict.

Battle has raged since September between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. 

Baku has been accused of seeking to cleanse the province of its majority Armenian population. 

Territorial disputes between Azerbaijan and Armenia date back to before they became Soviet republics in the early 1920s, and flared again as the Soviet Union began to disintegrate in the late 1980s.

A six-year war began in 1988 over Nagorno-Karabakh, a landlocked area of Azerbaijan whose Armenian majority voted to join Yerevan in a referendum boycotted by Azerbaijan.

The region has been self-governed, with the support of Armenia, since 1994 but has failed to secure international recognition.

Turkey has been accused of inflaming tensions by sending hundreds of jihadists and other militia associated with the Free Syrian Army to the region to fight on behalf of its ally Azerbaijan, and Azerbaijan has been accused of war crimes, with Amnesty International confirming earlier this month that banned cluster bombs had been used in attacks on the regional capital Stepanakert.

A humanitarian ceasefire agreed by both sides broke down minutes after it was implemented on Saturday, with both sides blaming the other for the breach.

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