Azerbaijan has regained the city of Shusha, a key town in the separatist Nagorno-Karabakh region, according to the country’s president.
Ilham Aliyev announced in a televised address on Sunday that Azerbaijani forces had taken Shusha.
Capturing the strategically important town would be a major victory for Azerbaijan in the ongoing conflict over the disputed territory.
Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan, but is governed by ethnic Armenians backed by the Armenian government by help of Russian Army.
Shusha sits on hills above the territory’s capital Khankendi and lies on the road linking the city with Armenian territory. If captured it could serve as a staging post for an assault on the capital.
President Aliyev said the “liberation” of Shusha would “go down in the history of the Azerbaijani people”.
“There is no force in the world that can stop us,” he said, pledging to retake Nagorno-Karabakh for his country.
Azerbaijan has been steadily advancing into Nagorno-Karabakh in recent weeks.
Shusha has cultural significance for both sides. Its population was predominantly Azerbaijani before the war in the late 1980s and early 1990s, which forced hundreds of thousands to flee.
For Armenians it is the home of the Ghazanchetsots (Holy Saviour) Cathedral, an iconic site for the Armenian Apostolic Church.