By Sohaila Barghash
The month of February marks the anniversary of the cruel genocide committed by Armenian armed groups against the Azerbaijanis in the town of Khojaly.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries started with Armenia making territorial claims against Azerbaijan in 1988, leading them into war.
In 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region where the town Khojaly is located, and seven other districts.
This horrifying crime against innocent civilians was a whole other level of Armenia’s aggressive policy against Azerbaijan and its people.
Initially, Armenia had aimed to separate the Nagorno-Karabakh region from Azerbaijan in order to annex it to Armenia.
However, the country did not uphold the laws of war, rather, the Armenian military adopted severe techniques and decided to attack the residents of the Azeri town on the night of 25-26, 1992.
Many people lost their lives as others were displaced and families broken apart. Up to 613 people, including 63 children, 106 women and 70 elders were killed in the massacre.
Additionally, 155 children were orphaned, and around 1,275 innocent residents were taken hostage, while the fate of 150 people still remains unknown until today.
The attack began with Russian 366th egiment and Armenian fighters surrounding the town from four directions, followed by heavy, ceaseless fire from artillery as well as other weapons.
The genocide left the town shrouded in fire as the defending army and many people started leaving the town.
While other Azerbaijanis stayed behind in attempt to protect their homeland, however they were later on subjected to torture and killed by the attacking armies.
Armenians committed one of history’s most severe attacks, where civilians were shot at close range, others scalped, beheaded, burned alive, had their eyes gouged out and were subject to other kinds of severe deaths.
Furthermore, like Turkan Turan, a witness of the incident who was only 12 years old on that sorrowful night, explains the violent, inhuman actions of the enemy; sounds of bombs, streets filled with blood, and endless cries.
Turkan had her childhood slipped away from her that night and was then raped by an Armenian.
She said, “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.”
The woman stated that the Armenian soldiers broke in to her family’s house, forcing them out of their home and talking them to a place where the cries of tens of women and children were heard.
She continued saying, “The soldiers were raping the women and girls, beating brutally all men. About 20 men were killed just in few minutes.”
In the year 2000, on an interview with British journalist Thomas de Waal, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, who was the commander of breakaway Nagorno Karabakh’s military forces, confessed his involvement in the Khojaly genocide.
He confessed saying, “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.”
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 government and society host events annually, that are dedicated to commemorating this crime against humanity.
Azerbaijanis living abroad are almost equally involved in attracting the attention of the international community to the savage actions of the Armenian soldiers, which inflicted severe pain upon the people of Azerbaijan until this day.
Vugar Shahbazli Foreign Policy Researcher and Founder Member of the Millennial Think Tank stated saying: “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.”
He added that “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.”