Baku, Azerbaijan – The Khojaly massacre was described by Human Rights Watch as “the largest massacre to date in the conflict” over Nagorno-Karabakh. The actions of Armenian forces were in gross violation of a number of basic international human rights conventions. Khojaly Massacre was an incident of mass murder of Azerbaijani civilians by Armenian forces in Khojaly town in Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan on February 26, 1992 during the Nagorno Karabakh War.
Armenian forces joined the 366th division in the region from 25 February to 26 February 1992. With the support of the input and output to close the first regiment the town of Khojaly in Azerbaijan according to official sources, 83 children, 106 women and more than 70 elderly people, including calm 613 killed, 487 persons were wounded. 1275 people were taken hostage and 150 people disappeared. Examination of the bodies showed that many of the bodies were burned, their eyes were gouged out, and their heads were cut off. Pregnant women and children have also been found to be exposed.
The town of Khojaly, one of the most important hills of the Nagorno-Karabakh region, was an important military target for the Armenian forces. The town was located on the road connecting Khankendi and Aghdam and was the base for the region’s only airport. According to a report by Human Rights Watch, the town of Khojaly was being held by Armenian forces because it was used as a base by the Azerbaijani Armed Forces, who were holding Khankendi to artillery fire.
After the capture of the town of Kerkicahan, which settled around Khankendi and was inhabited by Azerbaijanis in December 1991, the town of Khojaly remained completely under the Armenian blockade. As of October 30, transport by road was closed and the helicopter remained the only means of transport. After the shooting down of a Mi-8 helicopter by Armenian forces in the skies of Khojavend on 20 November 1991, and the resulting death of 20 people, including several Azerbaijani state officials, Russian and Kazakh observers, air transport was also cut off. Before the occupation, Khojaly was constantly bombed during the winter months of 1991-1992. Refugees from Khojaly told Human Rights Watch that in some cases the bombardments were clearly directed against civilian targets. Before the attack, the town had been without electricity and gas for several months.
‘Khojaly massacre one of darkest pages in 20th century’: Armenians who lived side-by-side with Azerbaijanis, turned against neighbors, committed ‘massacre’, says Azerbaijani envoy.
The “massacre” committed in 1992 against hundreds of Azerbaijanis by Armenians was one of the darkest pages in the history of the 20th century, Azerbaijan’s envoy to Turkey said.
Marking the 28th anniversary of the Khojaly Massacre, Khazar Ibrahim, in an interview with Anadolu Agency, said that the tragedy happened during the military aggression of Armenia against Azerbaijan, which started in the late 1980s in the final stages of the USSR.
“And then it turned into the very hot period, and in 1992 Khojaly genocide was committed against Azerbaijani civilians. Elderly people, women, kids, babies were killed, maimed and taken hostages, and the fate of most of them are still not known until today,” he said.
On the heels of the Soviet Union’s dissolution, Armenian forces took over the town of Khojaly in Karabakh on Feb. 26, 1992, after battering it with heavy artillery and tanks, assisted by an infantry regiment.
The Khojaly Massacre is seen as one of the most bloodiest incidents committed by Armenian forces against Azerbaijani civilians for control of the now-occupied Nagorno Karabakh region.
The two-hour Armenian offensive killed 613 Azerbaijani citizens — including 106 women, 63 children and 70 elderly — and critically injured 487 others, according to Azerbaijani figures.
Also, 150 of the 1,275 Azerbaijanis that the Armenians captured during the massacre remain missing. In the massacre, eight families were completely wiped out, while 130 children lost one parent, and 25 children lost both parents.
Ibrahim said the “world saw this massacre”, noting that not just Azerbaijani journalists but also many international media representatives “happened to be around Khojaly”, and they witnessed those people and survivors.
On Feb. 28, 1992, two helicopters with a group of journalists managed to reach the location of the massacre. On March 1 of the same year, a group of foreign and local journalists also reached the place.
“World actually raised its voice against this massacre,” he said.
The ambassador said he believes if people forget such tragedies, then it will be followed by other genocides and massacres. He added the massacres, which happened after Khojaly were probably emboldened by the “lack of punishment” for the perpetrators of the tragedy against Azerbaijani people.
“Don’t forget! If we forget, things happen again, and tomorrow it can be somebody else,” Ibrahim said.
He said although Azerbaijani side holds “truth and facts” about the massacre, Armenian officials try to falsify it.
“The Armenian side is trying to hide the truth, because it’s a harsh truth for them,” he said.
Ibrahim underlined that there are a number of documents, video materials along with many local and international witnesses who can “testify the truth”.
He also recalled that during the recent debate between Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan at the 56th Munich Security Conference, Pashinyan “unsuccessfully” tried to blame the massacre on people of Azerbaijan.
“We know that unfortunately, Armenian propaganda is working quite effectively in many parts of the world, in our neighborhood and far away, also on social media and on the Internet,” the envoy said.
Armenian side was ‘well-prepared’ for offensive
The envoy recalled his country, soon after the independence, did not have “enough resources” or even the regular armed forces to defend its own lands.
“On the contrary, Armenian side was well-prepared. They prepared for this offensive for quite a long time, and now it’s proven by many sources,” he said, adding that Armenians got support from “outside” and they were getting weapons, with Armenian mercenaries – “ruthless and very brutal” well-trained members of terrorist organizations — coming from all around the world.
“Maybe that is the reason why they showed no mercy to even children and women during Khojaly [massacre] and during other periods of the army aggression against Azerbaijan,” the ambassador added.