📩 26/02/2023 11:34
The Khojaly Massacre is an event that took place in the town of Khojaly in the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan on February 26, 1992, during the Karabakh War, and was the mass killing of Azeri civilians by Armenian forces.
According to the “Memorial” Human Rights Defense Center, Human Rights Watch, The New York Times and Time magazine, the massacre was carried out by Armenian forces with the support of Armenia and the 366th Motor Rifle Regiment. Also, according to former Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and Markar Melkonyan, who commanded the Armenian forces in the Karabakh War, his brother Monte Melkonyan declared that the massacre was a revenge by the Armenian forces.
Human Rights Watch described the Khojaly Massacre as the most comprehensive massacre of civilians since the occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh.
According to the official statement of Azerbaijan, 106 Azeris, 83 of whom were women and 613 of them children, died in the attack.
According to Azeri official sources, a total of 1992 people, including 25 children, 26 women and more than 366 elderly people, were in the town of Khojaly, where Armenian forces first blocked the entrance and exit with the support of the 83th Regiment in the night connecting February 106 to February 70 in 613. calm was killed, a total of 487 people were seriously injured. 1275 people were taken hostage and 150 people disappeared. In the examinations made on the corpses, it was seen that most of the corpses were burned, their eyes were gouged out and their heads were cut off. Pregnant women and children have also been found to be exposed.
Monte Melkonyan, a former ASALA activist, commanded Armenian military units in the region close to Khojaly and described what he saw around Khojaly one day after the massacre in his diary. After Melkonian's death, Markar Melkonyan describes the Khojaly Massacre as follows in his brother's diary in the book titled My Brother's Road in the USA:
At around 11 pm the night before, 2.000 Armenian fighters advanced from the heights on three sides of Khojaly, pressing the inhabitants towards the eastern opening. By the morning of February 26, the refugees had reached the eastern heights of Nagorno-Karabakh and began descending towards the Azeri city of Agdam below. Nagorno-Karabakh soldiers, who followed the civilians settled in the hills here, in the safe area, reached them. “They were shooting all the time,” refugee woman Reise Aslanova told Human Rights Watch. Arabo's warriors then unsheathed the knives they carried on their hips for a long time and began stabbing.
Only the sound of the wind blowing through the dry grass was whistling now, and it was still too early for the corpse smell to blow away.
“No discipline,” Monte whispered, leaning over the grass on which women and children were scattered like broken puppets. He understood the importance of this day: it was approaching the fourth anniversary of the Sumgait Pogrom. Khojaly was not only a strategic goal, but also an act of revenge.
According to the British researcher and writer, Thomas De Waal, Serzh Sargsyan, the current President of Armenia and who commanded the Armenian forces in Karabakh during the war:
Before Khojaly, Azerbaijanis thought we were joking, they thought that Armenians would not raise a hand against civil society. We managed to break that (stereotype). And that's the thing. At the same time, we should understand that among those young people there are those who fled from Baku and Sumgait.
In the letter presented to the United Nations General Assembly by the Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Armenian Charge d'affaires Movses Abelyan said that Azerbaijan "shamelessly used" the incident. Based on the interview of former Azerbaijani president Ayaz Mutallibov with Czech journalist Dana Mazalova published in Russia's Nezavisimaya Gazeta on April 2, 1992, Abelyan states that the Azerbaijan Popular Front militants of the local people's escape from the mountain pass opened by the Armenians in Karabakh in order to facilitate the escape of civilians. claimed to have been prevented by In addition, Abelyan wrote that, based on the September 1992 report of the Helsinki Watch section of Human Rights Watch, quoting the words of an Azeri woman who said that Armenians had called on Azeri civilians to leave the town with a white flag, Azeri militants actually shot those who tried to escape.
In later interviews, Mutallibov accused the Armenians of blatantly misinterpreting his own words, emphasizing that he only said that "the Azerbaijan Popular Front used the results of the Khojaly massacre for its own political interests".
In addition, the Executive Director of Human Rights Watch stated that the Karabakh Armenian forces were directly responsible for the civilian deaths, and that both his report and Memorial's report did not contain any evidence to support the argument that Azeri forces prevented civilians from fleeing and opened fire on civilians.