Asia Crisis

Azerbaijan says 3 Armenian soldiers dead in clash

BAKU, Jan 27 (Reuters) - Azerbaijan said on Tuesday its forces had killed three Armenian soldiers in fighting near breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh late on Monday.

The Azeri Defence Ministry said Armenian soldiers had attacked an Azeri checkpoint in the Agdam district adjacent to the rebel territory.

Officials in the region's Armenian-backed administration could not be reached for comment.

Mainly populated by Armenians, Nagorno-Karabakh broke away from Azerbaijan in the late 1980s, sparking a war that killed an estimated 30,000 people. Armenian forces also seized seven districts surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh.

A ceasefire was agreed in 1994 but clashes are common between forces manning the frontline.

"Three Armenian soldiers died in fighting which lasted for around one hour in the village of Javakhirli, Agdam district, when Armenian forces attempted to seize an Azeri checkpoint," the Azeri Defence Ministry said in a statement.

It said one body had been left in Azeri-controlled territory. (Reporting by Afet Mehtiyeva; writing by Matt Robinson)