Khojaly genocide - the tragedy of the 20th century


The Khojaly genocide is one of the most terrible and tragic pages of Azerbaijan history. Azerbaijan has endured ethnic cleansing and genocide by Armenian nationalist-chauvinists for 200 years. The people of Azerbaijan were deported from their historical lands and became refugees and internally displaced persons because of Armenian occupation. Azerbaijanis were also forced from their historical lands during the Soviet period. 150,000 Azerbaijanis were deported from Armenia and placed in the Kur-Araz plain from1948-1953. 250,000 Azerbaijanis were forced from their historical territories in 1988 and Armenia became a mono-ethnical state. The Daghlyg Garabagh events, which began in 1988 along with continuous efforts to implement the Armenian desire of building a state from sea to sea, led to the destruction of towns and villages, murder of thousands of innocent people, as well as the exile of hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis from their native lands.

The Armenian government wanted to annex Daghlyg Garabagh despite international legal norms and demonstrates their readiness to resort to any kind of crime and barbarism for the sake of its ideology. The Khojaly genocide - the tragedy of the 20th century - was a result of this aggressive and criminal policy. This tragedy, which took place in the 20th century was one of the most serious crimes not only against the people of Azerbaijan, but humanity as a whole. The Khojaly genocide is comparable to the genocides in Khatyn, Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Songmi.

What was Armenians' purpose in targeting Khojaly? On one hand that was the liquidation of the strategic hindrance in the form of Azerbaijani residents of the mountainous part of Daghlyg Garabagh. On the other hand that was the razing of Khojaly to the ground. Because Khojaly was an inhabited place, which reflected the history and traditions of Azerbaijan since the ancient times. This distinct culture is classified as Khojaly-Gadabay in the Azerbaijani history. Cromlechs, dolmens, Cyclops, tumuluses of Khojaly, as well as different housing wares are the patterns of material culture that reflect the dynamics of social development. The destruction of all these material culture monuments and Khojaly graveyard - one of the most ancient cemeteries in history - after the Armenian occupation is are obvious examples of Armenian barbarism and aggression against the world culture.

The Khojaly genocide was one of the most terrible stories in the history of the Armenia-Azerbaijan, Daghlyg Garabagh conflict since 1988. The Khojaly genocide is comparable to the genocides in Badbiyar, Lidice.

Located between Khankendi and Esgeran, Khojaly is the second large settlement in Daghlyg Garabagh populated by Azerbaijanis after Shusha.  In 1990, Khojaly was given a status of town. By 1991, population of the town was 7000 Azerbaijanis, fired from Khankendi on September 18, 1988, from Armenia in November 1988 and Mehseti Turks dismissed from Fergana in 1989.

The only landing site in Daghlyg Garabagh was in Khojaly.

Armenian armed forces encircled Khojaly from all sides. Roads, passages were blockaded, all communications of the town on land were paralyzed. There was no electricity. From November 1991, communication with Khojaly was possible via radiophone and civil helicopter only. Khojaly was deprived of air communication after MI-8 civil helicopter of the Azerbaijan Airlines Public Company was shot by Armenians over Daghlyg Garabagh on January 28, 1992, killing over 40 Azerbaijanis on board.

Over the night from 25 to 26 February 1992 Armenian armed forces with support of the infantry guards regiment No.366 of the former Soviet Union implemented the seizure of the town of Khojaly. Khojaly was shot from artillery and military hardware, heavy fires started in the town, which was destroyed completely. Battalion No.2 of regiment No.366 led by major Seyran Ohanyan, Battalion No.3 led by Yevgeni Nabokikh, chief of headquarters of Battalion No.1 Chitchyan Valeriy Isayevich, and more than 50 Armenian officers and ensigns serving in the regiment, also tanks, motorized infantry, guns, D-30 howitzers and other modern warlike equipments participated in the attack. According to the investigation, the attack started at about 10 o’clock in the evening. First, the town was heavily shot by artillery, which was followed by numerous tanks, PDM and APC mercilessly killing sleeping civilians, including women, children and elderly. Defenders of the town and locals were forced to leave the town. The town was occupied until 5 o’clock in the morning February 26.

Forced to leave the town, population fled to mountains, forests and Azerbaijani town of Aghdam. Civilians were shot and treated savagely by Armenians in a glade area near the village of Nakhchyvanik.

Brutal annihilation of hundreds of blameless inhabitants of Khojaly was one of the most heinous crimes during the armed conflict in and around the Daghlig Garabagh region of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The Armenian armed forces and mercenary units spared virtually none of those who had been unable to flee Khojaly and the surrounding area.

The Armenian armed forces and mercenary units spared virtually none of those who had been unable to flee Khojaly and the surrounding area. As a result, 613 persons were killed, including 106 women, 63 children and 70 elderly people. 1,275 peaceful inhabitants were taken hostage, while the fate of 150 persons remains unknown to this day. In the course of the tragedy 487 inhabitants of Khojaly were severely maimed, including 76 children not yet of age. 8 families were completely wiped out, 26 children lost both parents, and 130 children one of their parents.