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MARTUNI, Azerbaijan — Huddled together in the basement of the town’s music school, the women broke into a chorus of bee-like buzzing sounds to describe what has become their greatest fear.
“We don’t see them,” said Katarina Abrahamyan, a 38-year-old supermarket cashier. “We hear them.”
The “them” she was referring to were drones, a frightening new fixture in the military conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan that erupted in late September after several years of relative calm. Hundreds have now died in more than two weeks of ferocious clashes over Nagorno-Karabakh, the ethnic Armenian enclave internationally recognized as belonging to Azerbaijan but ruled by an Armenia-backed separatist government.
The drones have turned the hostilities from a bloody, bare-knuckled ground fight waged with infantry and Soviet-era ordnance into a deadly game of hide-and-seek against an all-too-patient — and often unseen — airborne enemy.