By Rashid Shirinov
The Azerbaijani Parliament has held a plenary session devoted to the 25th anniversary of the Khojaly Genocide, which was committed by Armenia’s army against Azerbaijani civilians in 1992.
Armenian armed forces occupied the town of Khojaly in Azerbaijan on February 26 1992, and killed more than 600 civilians, wounded more than 1,000 civilians; and captured more than 1,200 civilians.
Parliamentary Speaker Ogtay Asadov, addressing the session, stated that the Khojaly Genocide is the most terrible event to which the Azerbaijani people were subjected in the 20th century.
“The Khojaly genocide is the bloodiest page of the policy of ethnic cleansing, genocide and aggression carried out against Azerbaijani people,” he said, noting that such a policy has been pursued for more than 200 years against Azerbaijan.
“The organizers are some external forces wishing to realize their interests in the region, and the performers are the Armenian chauvinists,” the speaker said.
Asadov regretted that up to a certain period, Armenian chauvinists, relying on their patrons, achieved their goals.
“An Armenian state was established on the historical Azerbaijani territories, and Armenians were groundlessly provided with autonomy in Nagorno-Karabakh,” he stressed.
The speaker also reminded that Azerbaijanis were expelled from both Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan.
“For over 25 years, 20 percent of Azerbaijan's territory is under occupation. During the land seizures, the Armenians committed brutal actions against the peaceful Azerbaijani population,” Asadov said, reminding that over 80 civilians were killed in the Garadagli village.
Later, the Azerbaijani Parliament passed a bill on the Khojaly genocide.
The bill includes an appeal to the parliaments of foreign countries and international parliamentary organizations to assess the massacre of Azerbaijanis on February 25-26, 1992 in the Khojaly town of Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh region as a genocide.
The document also recommends the relevant Azerbaijani governmental and non-governmental organizations to join efforts for spreading the information about the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the exposure of deceitful Armenian propaganda.
The bill urges the law enforcement agencies of Azerbaijan to continue measures to identify and bring to justice the perpetrators of the Khojaly genocide.
The town of Khojaly was situated within the administrative borders of the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan. Its population constituted over 7,000 people.
Late into the night of February 25, 1992, Khojaly came under intensive fire from the towns of Khankendi and Askeran already occupied by Armenian armed forces. The Armenian forces, supported by the ex-Soviet 366th regiment, completed the surrounding of the town already isolated due to ethnic cleansing of the Azerbaijani population of the neighboring regions. The joint forces occupied the town, which was ruined by heavy artillery shelling.
Thousands of fleeing civilians were ambushed by the Armenian forces. Punitive teams of the so-called Nagorno-Karabakh defense army reached the unprotected civilians to slaughter them, mutilating and scalping some of the bodies. 613 people were killed, including 106 women, 70 elderly and 83 children. A total of 1,000 civilians were disabled. Eight families were exterminated, and 25 children lost both parents, while 130 children lost one parent. Moreover, 1,275 innocent people were taken hostage, while the fate of 150 remains unknown.
Rashid Shirinov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @RashidShirinov
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