Assad blames Erdogan for Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

Syrian President accuses Turkish counterpart of being 'main instigator' of conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, says militants from Syria are being deployed there.

MOSCOW - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad accused Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan of being the main instigator of the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, speaking in an interview with Russia's RIA news agency published on Tuesday.

The fighting between Azerbaijan and ethnic Armenians over the region began on September 27 and has escalated to its deadliest level since the 1990s.

Assad said militants from Syria were being deployed in Nagorno-Karabakh.

"Damascus can confirm this," Assad said.

Turkey and Azerbaijan have denied allegations from France, Russia and Iran that Ankara is sending Syrian mercenaries to take part in the fighting which has increased international concern that other regional powers could be dragged into the conflict.

Turkey has expressed solidarity with Azerbaijan while Armenia has a defence pact with Russia.