Today is the day of sorrow for all Azerbaijanis – the anniversary of the genocide committed by the Armenian armed groups in Khojaly, town in Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh region.
This terrible crime was another stage of Armenia’s aggressive policy against Azerbaijan and its population. The aggressor’s primary goal was to separate the Nagorno-Karabakh region from Azerbaijan and to annex it to Armenia. Contrary to the well-known ‘laws of war’, the Armenian military committed villainy and attacked the peaceful population of the Azerbaijani town.
The horror in Khojaly began on the night of February 25-26, 1992. Russian 366th egiment and Armenian fighters surrounded the town from four directions, opening heavy and ceaseless fire from artillery and other heavy weapons. As a result, Khojaly became shrouded in fire and the defending army and population had to leave their town.
Meanwhile, Azerbaijanis who remained to protect their homeland and those who were unable to leave the town were subjected to terrible torture and killed by the attackers. On this dreadful night, the Armenian soldiers killed 613 civilians, most of whom were women, children and elders, severely maimed 1,000 and took captive 1,275 people. The fate of 150 captured remains unknown to this day. Moreover, eight families were exterminated, while 25 children lost both parents and 130 lost one.
Armenians committed the genocide in Khojaly in the most terrible way: some civilians were shot at close range, while others were scalped, beheaded, burned alive, had their eyes gouged out and were subject to other kinds of painful death. The attackers had no mercy even on the Azerbaijani women – they were raped and the babies of the pregnant ones were inhumanly taken out of the abdomen and nailed to the walls.
Witness speaks of this terrible night
Turkan Turan was one of the residents of Khojaly. She was only 12 years old on that sinister night in 1992. Violent laughter, sounds of bombs, streets sinking in the blood, endless cries... she still remembers it all. The little girl, who lost her happy childhood just in one night, was raped by an Armenian monster.
"I cannot escape the nightmare of Khojaly and the smell of blood. My memories bother me whenever I stand in front of the mirror. I experienced the most brutal ever winter in my life in Khojaly in 1992,” she says today.
The woman notes that the Armenian soldiers invaded the house of her family. They forced the family to go out and took them to a place where the deafening cries of tens of women and children were heard.
“The soldiers were raping the women and girls, beating brutally all men. About 20 men were killed just in few minutes,” Turkan recalls.
The current Armenian leadership cannot even deny the fact that the atrocities committed by Armenian military in Khojaly was carefully planned in advance. In his interview with British journalist Thomas de Waal in 2000, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, who was the commander of breakaway Nagorno Karabakh’s military forces, confessed his involvement in the Khojaly genocide.
“Before Khojaly events, the Azerbaijanis thought that the Armenians were people who could not raise their hand against the civilian population. We were able to break that [stereotype],” Sargsyan said.
Khojaly needs wider recognition
The parliaments of a number of states, including Pakistan, Turkey, Mexico, Colombia, Guatemala, Romania, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Czech Republic, Israel, Peru, Honduras, Jordan, Sudan, Djibouti, the legislative bodies of 20 states of the U. S., including New-Mexico, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Western Virginia, New-Jersey, Tennessee, Arizona and Hawaii, as well as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation recognized the Khojaly massacre as a genocide.
The Azerbaijani people will never forget the genocide in Khojaly, which was one of the most terrible massacres against civilians in the history of mankind. Every year, the Azerbaijani government and society hold events dedicated to commemorating this crime against humanity. Azerbaijanis living abroad are also highly involved in the informing of the international community about the atrocities Armenian soldiers inflicted on Azerbaijani innocent people on that day.
"Unfortunately, one of the most heinous war crimes in the history of mankind that Armenia committed against the Azerbaijani people has not been properly condemned by the greater part of the world community," says Natig Mammadzada, head of the History of the Genocide of Azerbaijani People department of the Institute of History of Azerbaijan's National Academy of Sciences.
He added that Azerbaijan's efforts aimed at the international recognition of the Khojaly genocide cause great concern to Armenia.
"Sooner or later the Armenian invaders will have to answer for all the suffering they caused to Azerbaijanis, including the innocent inhabitants of the town of Khojaly killed by inhumans in human guise," Mammadzada noted.