Assault on Khojaly
The attack on the city began on the night of February 25-26, 1992. At 11 p.m shelling of Khojaly started. After the shelling, the Armenian forces with the assistance of troops from the 366th Regiment of the CIS stationed in Stepanakert, marched into the city. Witness accounts confirm that the troops from the 366th Regiment took active part during the assault and occupation of the city. Khojaly was surrounded from three sides, whence the military troops entered into the city.
By 7 a.m. the last point of Azeri resistance was taken out by the enemy forces. The residents of the city had to flee through the snowy areas, a lot of them being without footwear and warm clothes; therefore a number of people died of frostbite on the way.
According to the Memorial`s report the residents left in two directions:
1. From the eastern outskirts of the city to the northeast along the river,
leaving Askeran on the left side.
So, the majority of civilians left Khojaly, and approximately 200-300 civilians still remained in the city, having hidden in their houses and basements.
According to the Human Rights Watch report, the troops from the 366th Regiment opened fire on civilians who tried to escape.
Markar Melkonyan, the brother of an infamous Armenian terrorist, and the commander of the Armenian military units in Karabakh - Monte Melkonyan, in his book “My Brother’s Road: An American’s Fateful Journey to Armenia” wrote that the number of military forces that took part in assault on Khojaly exceeded 2,000. That means the quantity of armed units attacking the city was 10 times more than the city defenders.
People, who managed to flee the city, had to go to Agdam by foot. On the way to Agdam the crowds of people fell under the enemy fire. Early in the morning, while moving through the plains near the village Nakhichevanik occupied by Armenians, the refugees from Khojaly fell under heavy fire of Armenians. Fleeing groups of refugees that appeared on the plain already covered with bodies of killed civilians also got under the shelling of the Armenian armed forces.
The former resident of Khojaly, Hijran Alekperova, commenting on the events to the representative of Human Rights Watch stated the following :
«…We have reached Nakhichevanik by 9 a.m. There was a field with killed people, probably there were hundred corpses. I didn't try to count. I was wounded there. Alif Hajiyev (the Head of Khojaly airport; supervised the city defense) has been shot and I wanted to help him. The bullet got me in my stomach. I saw the location from where they fired at us. I watched a lot of corpses on that field, they all were killed not long ago. Their skin color hasn't turned pale yet.”
Another refugee from Khojaly, Raisha Aslanova, in conversation with the representative of Human Rights Watch stated that the Armenians (the ‘Arabo’ unit) fired at people indiscriminately, after which they finished off the wounded with knifes and bayonets.
After the occupation of Khojaly, about 300 civilians unable to flee, were
forced to remain in the city.
Such actions of the Armenians testify that in addition to all, they aimed to conduct ethnic cleaning. Their purpose was to drive out all non-Armenian population from the region, including Khojaly. It is necessary to mark the circumstance that the majority of the captivated people consisted from women, children and old men. In civilized societies all over the world the captivation of women, children and old men is defined as an act of immorality. Besides, the mentioned fact comes to hard contradiction with the Geneva Convention and some articles of the UN regulations, reflecting the human rights.
These people were taken prisoner by Armenians, all of them have been sent to Khankendi (Stepanakert), then to a temporary prison facility located in Red village, and disciplinary cell of Askeran.
Such actions of the Armenians testify that in addition to all, they aimed to conduct ethnic cleaning. Their purpose was to drive out all non-Armenian population from the region, including Khojaly. It is necessary to mark the circumstance that the majority of the captivated people consisted were made up of women, children and elderly. In civilized societies all over the world the imprisonment of women, children and old men is defined as an act of immorality. Besides, the mentioned fact is in contradiction of the Geneva Convention and some articles of the UN regulations on human rights.
It’s a well documented fact that the captives were exposed to severe physical violence, denied medical treatment and adequate food. Some of them were handed over to Armenian families who used them for slave labour. Others were killed or died from regular tortures and beatings.
There is also information that the Armenian authorities hid some captives from the international observers, obviously to conceal the facts of physical violence and tortures they were exposed to.
After the occupation of the city, the observers from Memorial witnessed and documented an act of massive looting in Khojaly by residents of Khankendi (Stepanakert) and surrounding villages occupied by Armenians.
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