Baku / Yerevan (dpa) - After heavy fighting with numerous dead and injured in the conflict region Nagorno-Karabakh, the warring neighboring countries Armenia and Azerbaijan are in a state of war.

In Azerbaijan this came into force on Monday night, as President Ilham Aliyev decided.

In the ex-Soviet republic there are supposed to be curfews in some parts of the country.

In Armenia, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan mobilized the population in Yerevan on Sunday and declared a state of war throughout the country.

Azerbaijan had previously started a military operation against Nagorno-Karabakh and captured several villages.

According to both sides, the fighting broke out early on Sunday morning between the warring countries.

Nagorno-Karabach's capital, Stepanakert, was said to have been shot at.

Pashinyan viewed the battles as a declaration of war against his people.

The region controlled by Armenia with an estimated 145,000 inhabitants is part of the Islamic Azerbaijan under international law.

It is the worst escalation in decades.

In Nagorno-Karabakh, 16 soldiers were shot dead and more than 100 injured, according to official information.

Azerbaijan announced that there were five dead and injured in its own ranks.

Armenia claimed that 200 soldiers were killed on the opposing side.

Baku did not confirm this, however.

According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, civilians are among the victims.

Both sides blamed each other for the fighting.

Armenia claimed that Turkey should have supported Azerbaijan.

The Ministry of Defense in Yerevan has information that Turkish weapons, for example, have been used.

Prime Minister Pashinyan also emphasized during a phone call with French President Emmanuel Macron that Turkey was behaving very aggressively.

Ankara must be prevented from interfering in this conflict.

There has been no reaction from Turkey so far.

The EU, Germany and Russia called on the parties to the conflict to stop fighting immediately and return to the negotiating table.

Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) emphasized that the OSCE Minsk Group with its three co-chairs France, Russia and the USA was ready for negotiations.

The OSCE is the organization for security and cooperation in Europe.

Iran, which has good relations with both countries, also offered itself as a mediator.

Baku lost control of the area inhabited by Christian Karabakh Armenians in a war following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

A ceasefire has existed in the region since 1994, but it has been repeatedly broken.

The last time the conflict flared up strongly in 2016 - more than 120 people died.

The completely impoverished Armenia relies on Russia as a protective power, which has stationed thousands of soldiers and weapons there.

The oil and gas rich Azerbaijan has Turkey as an allied brother state.

The Foreign Office advised against traveling to the region.

"Travel to the vicinity of the Line of Contact around Nagorno-Karabakh and the occupied territories, as well as the entire border area with Armenia, is strongly discouraged," said the travel and safety information.

The same applies to trips to the entire border area on the Armenian side.

Entry to Nagorno-Karabakh without a corresponding Azerbaijani permit is a criminal offense under Azerbaijani law, it is also said.

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 200927-99-734125 / 4