Azerbaijan, Baku /corr Trend / The genocide at one of the most ancient settlements of Khojali during the first stages of the conflict in the Nagorno Karabakh, which started between Armenia and Azerbaijan in 1988, is one of the most terrible, tragic and unprecedented events in human history. The tragedy of Khojali stands at the same level of the most terrible and cruel tragedies carried out in Xatin, Hiroshima .
Khojali is situated 14 km to north-west of Hankendi.
Khojali had a population of 7000 before the tragedy in 1992. This was also a home to refugees who were forced to the area during that period from Armenia and IDPs from neighboring Hankendi, as well as to Meskheti Turks, who were forced from Fergana in 1989.
On the night of 26 February 1992, the Armenians deployed their forces in Hankendi and with the help of the 366th military regiment of the former USSR , attacked the defenseless and helpless of Khojali.
It started with Armenian forces surrounding the town from four directions and opening heavy and ceaseless fire from artillery and salvo launchers. Within a short time, the city was enveloped in flames. The defending army and local population had to leave town. Khojali was occupied by the Armenian invaders by 5 AM.
Within one night the town was razed to the ground.
The population escaped to the mountains and forests. The Armenian armed forced fired at civilians from all sides and jeered at them cruelly. Many young girls were taken hostage that cold snowy night. Many of those who tried to escape the Armenian forces, by heading for forests and mountains, froze to death. As a result of the Armenian invasion, 613 residents of Khojali were killed and 478 were badly injured. 1275 civilians, including the elderly, women and children, were taken hostage and endured serious insults and offences from the Armenians. The fate of 150 is still unknown. This was a true genocide. Out of 613 civilians killed in Khojali, 106 were women, 63 children and 70 elderly.
During the Khojali tragedy, 8 entire families were annihilated, 24 children lost both parents and 130 children lost one parent.
56 people were killed with particular cruelty. They were burnt to death, had their heads cut off, their faces skinned and their eyes pricked out. The Armenians were also violent to pregnant women and profaned the dead bodies.
The nation and the state of Azerbaijan will not forget the Khojali tragedy.
Heydar Aliyev, the ex President of the Republic of Azerbaijan , issued a special decree regarding the Khojali genocide on 1 March 1994. According to a decree of the Milli Majlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan , 26 February was declared a national day of mourning in memory of the Khojali genocide. Corresponding notifications were sent to all international organizations.
On 26 February 1997, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan issued a decree of a minute's silence in memory of the Khojali genocide victims. The President of Azerbaijan makes a speech addressed to the nation of Azerbaijan in connection to the Khojali genocide on 26 February every year.