On Monday, attackers assaulted the capital of the ethnic Armenian enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, Stepanakert, when both sides fired devastating, long-range weapons.
According to The New York Times, 53-year-old Ruzanna Avagyana, a social worker from the ethnic Armenian enclave, was taking stock of the region's rapidly increasing military conflict with Azerbaijan while taking shelter inside her basement.
The destructive conflicts are considered to be the worst in the region of the Nagorno-Karabakh area since the beginning of the war in the early 1990s. The fighting began one week ago and forced Avagyana to seek refuge underground.
During the first days that she hid inside her basement, she counted half a dozen explosions ravaging her hometown. She experienced several more on Sunday and on Monday, she heard so many that she was not able to keep track.
Later on, the apartment building built on top of her took a direct hit from one of the explosions. During a telephone interview, Avagyana said people in the region were afraid for their lives. She detailed how she heard whistling sounds during the artillery strikes on her city and was not able to discern where they fell on, but she later heard a loud boom.
As the building above her collapsed to the damage, Avagyana was able to escape her basement relatively unharmed.
Long history of war
For years, devastating conflicts have been common at the front lines of the Nagorno-Karabakh region, which is controlled by ethnic Armenian separatists. However, globally, the area is recognized as a part of Azerbaijan.
But several analysts and experts believe the recent conflict is unique because of the direct support from Turkey to Azerbaijan and the sheer scale of the fighting. Both sides have been assaulting each other using armed drones and devastating rocket artillery.
Previously a city of beautiful and well-maintained boulevards, Stepanakert has been left scattered in ruins after the devastating assaults. Armenia's military said that the city was subjected to a second round of bombings on Monday, as reported by 24News Order.
Authorities from Azerbaijan said that rockets had landed in the residential area of Ganja, which is considered the second-largest city in the region. The recent conflicts have resulted in the death of more than 250 people in the area, including several dozens of civilians from both sides.
Several observers and diplomats were alarmed by the explosions that Avagyana heard ravaging her home town which struck her apartment building, which was across the street from a military headquarters. Avagyana believes her location was vulnerable because of its proximity to the base.
Experts are concerned that the weapons show the risks of direct conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, which are two former Soviet states. The two regions have been divided by an ethnic dispute and both sides' claims to the region of Nagorno-Karabakh.
The fighting along the front lines has been relatively masked and mysterious as reports from both Armenia and Azerbaijan are difficult to verify, much more so for independent parties.