The Ethiopian military has seized an airport in the northern Tigray region where fighting against local leaders has led to dozens of refugees fleeing to neighbouring Sudan, according to reports.
Tigrayan forces surrendered after government troops took control of Humera Airport, state TV claimed on Tuesday.
Federal soldiers also captured a road that connects the town of Humera to the Sudanese border, the Fana broadcaster stated.
Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has vowed his military will bring a quick end to the fighting in the region along with the removal of its leadership, which his government sees as illegal.
The African Union is calling for an immediate ceasefire.
At least six people have died and 60 have been injured, according to Doctors Without Borders, but local media claims that dozens more have been killed.
Authorities in Al Qadarif, Sudan, have started preparing to build a refugee camp for fleeing Ethiopians.
The international community has warned of civil war in the region, which has more than nine million people, and a major humanitarian crisis if tensions are not addressed.
Meanwhile Mr Abiy has continued to defy international calls for peace in the region.
His spokeswoman Billene Seyoum said on Tuesday: “There is no rebuffing of anyone by the prime minister.
“He had acknowledged and given gratitude for the concerns shown.
“Nevertheless, Ethiopia is a sovereign nation and its government will ultimately make decisions in the long-term interest of the country and its people.”
Mr Abiy, who belongs to Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group – the Oromos – was given a Nobel Peace Prize after taking power in 2018 for calming tensions with neighbouring Eritrea.
But his sweeping reforms have left the Tigrays – who live in the north of the country near the border- marginalised.
The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) dominated national politics for more than 30 years, but now govern its own people – separately to the federal administration.
Mr Abiy is already reported to have launched 10 airstrikes in Tigray.
With the internet largely blacked out and transport links blockaded, the northern region has been isolated from the rest of the world since it held elections against the will of the government in September.
Each side blames the other for sparking the conflict.
Mr Abiy claims tensions heightened after Tigrayan forces attacked a government military based in the region.