The film crew of ‘O Kanal’ of Bosnia and Herzegovina has visited Azerbaijan’s Aghdam district, liberated from the Armenian occupation, Report informs.
An employee of the TV channel prepared a report on Aghdam, which he called ‘Hiroshima of the Caucasus.’
‘All that we saw in the city is ruins. Most of the city has been destroyed, except for the Juma mosque. After almost 30 years of occupation, Azerbaijan liberated Aghdam and other territories captured in the 90s. Aghdam was the only salvation for the inhabitants of Khojaly, where one of the bloodiest crimes was committed. In 1992, during the massacre known as the Khojaly genocide, 613 people were killed. February 26 marks the 29th anniversary of this event,’ the report says.
It is noted that many Khojaly residents, saving their lives, went to Aghdam, which was fatal for them.
One of the officers of the Patriotic War, Zahid bey, recalls the night when civilians fled through the mountains and mined areas.
‘Everything happened on the night of February 25-26. We tried to get the residents out of the besieged city. We were told that the 366th regiment of the former USSR, together with the Armenians, surrounded the city. Having pulled out the wounded, we wandered forward, and then a terrible picture opened up to our eyes – the hill was strewn with the corpses of women, children, and men. For a long time, I couldn’t recover from this sight,’ he said.
During the press conference for local and foreign media representatives held on Feb. 26, 2021 President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev criticized an Iranian journalist, who asked the question about the presence of terrorists in Karabakh during the war.
The journalist mentioned the participation of terrorists in the war, claiming the reports came from some regional countries, without naming them.
President Ilham Aliyev said the question sounded like an accusation, since no credible source was provided to back up the claim about terrorists in Karabakh.
“This is a deliberately invented story. I regret that a representative from a friendly country is raising this issue. When it is done by the Armenian side it is more or less understandable because for them it gives the opportunity to find an excuse,” said the president.
“It is probably very psychologically painful for them to admit that Azerbaijan defeated them, Azerbaijani soldiers defeated them, for them of course it is more convenient to say that some terrorists did it, but where are these terrorists? Therefore, I would ask you not to speculate on these issues,” the head of state said.
Azerbaijan has long been home to many different ethnic groups. One such group is the Mountain Jews, descendants of Jewish people who migrated from Persia to the Caucus mountains hundreds of years ago, Euronews reported.
Krasnaya Sloboda is a Jewish settlement in the city of Quba, located on the eastern slopes of the Greater Caucasus. It stands out from other provincial Azerbaijani settlements with its unique architectural style. The people who live there honour and preserve their centuries-old traditions.
The Museum of Mountain Jews opened there just last year to shine a light on this one-of-a-kind community, their traditions and culture, keeping them safe for generations to come.
Igor Shaulov is the director of the museum. He tells us that “the Museum of the History of Mountain Jews is the only one in the world. It includes documents, domestic items and artifacts. This museum is devoted to the history and culture, past and present, of the Mountain Jews. It reflects a high degree of interaction and mutual respect between Jewish and Azerbaijani people”.
Krasnaya Sloboda is believed to be the world’s only all-Jewish town outside Israel and the United States, with a population of around three and half thousand people.
There are two active synagogues in the community and a Yeshiva (a school), where children study the Torah, Hebrew and learn about the customs of the Mountain Jews. One of the two synagogues in this community is called a “sheshkombara” in the Mountain Jews’ native language of Juhuri. It means six-domed synagogue.
Naum Niftaliyev is a guide at the museum. He says that the “sheshkombara” was built in 1888, “but, unfortunately, during Soviet times, it was used as a carpet weaving factory, because religion was prohibited. After the collapse of the USSR, it was renovated and now functions, once again, as a synagogue.”
For some young people, the 1990s was a difficult decade. Many were forced to leave their community in search of work after the collapse of the Soviet Union. But now, thanks partly to Orthodox Jewish outreach groups, young people can pray in the vibrant local synagogue and dozens are enrolled in the Yeshiva.
While Islam is the main religion in Azerbaijan, Judaism and other faiths are also practiced.
A local Islamic Scholar, Hemdulla Denyarov, tells us that “for many centuries Jews and Muslims have been living together in Quba. It would be great if such a neighborhood were taken as a basis all over the world”.
The Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan shared a video from the Efendiler village of Gubadli district.
Note, the territories of Azerbaijan, which was occupied by Armenia nearly 30 years ago, was liberated from the occupation during the 44-day Second Nagorno-Karabakh War. The war started on September 27 when the Armenian Armed Forces launched a large-scale military attack on positions of Azerbaijani army on the front line, using large-caliber weapons, mortars and artillery and lasted until November 10. Until November 10, the Azerbaijan Army liberated some villages and cities of Fuzuli, Jabrayil, Gubadli, Zangilan, Khojavend, Khojaly, Terter, Shusha and Lachin districts.
On November 10, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia signed an agreement to end six weeks of fierce fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Under the agreement, Russian peacekeepers are being deployed along the front line in Nagorno-Karabakh and the corridor between the region and Armenia.
A total of 1,960 Russian peacekeepers are to be deployed in Nagorno-Karabakh under a five-year mandate.
Also, according to the agreement, on 20 November, Armenia handed over the Aghdam region which lies to the east of Nagorno-Karabakh, to Azerbaijan. This followed on 25 November by the Kalbajar region to the northwest of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Finally, on 1 December, Armenia handed over the Lachin District, over which the Lachin pass connecting Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia passes.
Several events were held in the Combined Arms Army, Air Force, Naval Forces, Army Corps, formations, military units, and special military educational institutions on the occasion of the 29th anniversary of the Khojaly genocide, according to the Azerbaijan MoD.
As part of the events, servicemen visited the monuments erected in memory of the victims of the Khojaly genocide, got acquainted with the exhibitions of books, photographs, and paintings. The literary-artistic compositions, the feature and documentary films dedicated to the tragedy have been presented to military personnel. The meetings of mobile propaganda teams with personnel of military units stationed in the liberated territories were also organized.
by Raoul Lowery Contreras
Thanks to the Internet, we know of massacres that we might not have heard about five or ten years ago.
Here are some examples: November 2017 — gunmen entered Egypt’s al Rawdah Sufi Mosque and machine-gunned over 300 worshipers including 128 women and 27 children, CNN reported . According to Wall Street Journal , the same year in 2017, 358 men, women and children were killed in Chut Pyin — a Mynamar village by Mynamar troops. The Independent reported in September 2017 that Mynamar soldiers loyal to the country’s prime minister Aung San Suu Kyi — a Nobel Peace Prize awardee — killed more than 400 Rohingya Muslims.
The Internet leads us to these mass murders almost instantly. That wasn’t the case a quarter century ago.
On the night of February 26, 1992, Armenian troops, supported by remnants of the old Soviet 366th Motorized Infantry Regiment, attacked the Azerbaijani mountain town of Khojaly in Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh region. The 3000 people of this completely besieged town were defended by a hundred police and volunteer teen-aged students.
Rockets and artillery shells bombarded the town. Nightly barrages had occurred for the five months since Armenian forces had cut roads to the rest of Azerbaijan; no vehicles could enter or leave Khojaly. Supplies were helicoptered in, people out; the flights ended on the 14th. Food was scarce.
The bombardment drove Khojaly residents into basement shelters. When it ended, Armenian soldiers attacked. Defenders knew they couldn’t hold against tanks, so they told all civilians to flee Khojaly eastward to safety towards Azerbaijani-held city of Aghdam.
Groups of men, women and children started downhill through snow-covered hills in freezing temperatures. With only the clothes they wore, they tripped and stumbled towards safety through the night. Their elderly slowed everyone.
Armenia claims to this day that the people of Khojaly were warned to evacuate through a “safe corridor” down the mountains. They say they promised safe passage. Between midnight and dawn, 613 Azerbaijani men , women and children were slaughtered by machine guns, rifles, knives and bayonets in that “safe corridor.” The attack killed 106 women, 63 children and 70 elderly people.
Some 487 people, including 76 children, were critically wounded, while 150 of 1,275 Azerbaijanis whom the Armenians captured during the massacre remain missing to date. Eight families were completely wiped out, 130 children lost their fathers, and some 25 children became orphans in the massacre. According to the investigations, Armenian forces tortured the captives by burning them alive, peeling off their scalps, beheading them, cutting off ears, noses or sexual organs, and removing the eyes, alongside mass killings.
Within hours of the massacre, American reporter Thomas Goltz made his way by helicopter to the killing fields. He is the only American reporter who visited Khojaly before the attack. He personally knew people whose bodies he saw after the massacre, and wrote a story for the Washington Post which he dictated over the phone from Aghdam by way of the Post’s Moscow bureau. The story was published February 27, 1992 in the Post, with another article in London’s Sunday Times. The New York Times ran a story about the massacre on March 2 that described gruesome details of the massacre including decapitated and scalped bodies and children “with the backs of their heads blown off.” Time Magazine ran a story on Khojaly on March 16, 1992.
Despite some coverage by the Washington Post (2 articles), the New York Times (1), The Sunday Times (1) and Time Magazine (1), few people in the United States knew anything about the massacre at Khojaly, which by definition of the 1948 Convention of Genocide was a genocidal act — and a crime against humanity.
Thomas Goltz described the massacre in his book “Azerbaijan Diary”. This book has been validated by another book, “Black Garden” written by prominent British expert Tom De Waal.
Markar Melkonian, the brother of the California-born and educated Armenian terrorist, Monte Melkonian, wrote a book titled “My Brother’s Road: An American’s Fateful Journey to Armenia.”
In it, Melkonian specifies two Armenian military detachments — ARABO and ARAMO. Describing the genocidal massacre of Azerbaijani civilians by Armenian forces at Khojaly, Melkonian writes (page 213): ” The Arabo fighters had then unsheathed the knives they had carried on their hips for so long, and began stabbing. Now, the only sound was the wind whistling through dry grass, a wind that was too early yet to blow away the stench of corpses… Monte crunched over the grass where women and girls lay scattered like broken dolls .”
A better view is that of former Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan in Tom De Wall’s “Black Garden” (page 172). Sargsyan was in charge of Armenian forces in Karabakh, which committed the Khojaly Massacre. This is what President Sargsyan said to De Waal:
“Before Khojaly, the Azerbaijanis thought they were joking with us, they thought that Armenians were people who could not raise their hand against the civilian population. We were able to break that stereotype. And that’s what happened.”
The Human Rights Watch, which called Khojaly “the largest massacre in the conflict,” invalidated Armenia’s attempts to deny its responsibility for Khojaly, and blamed the Armenian forces for the massacre. It said:
“…Yet we place direct responsibility for the civilian deaths with Karabakh Armenian forces…The circumstances surrounding the attack . . .on those fleeing Khojaly indicate that [Karabakh] Armenian forces and the troops of the 366th CIS regiment . . .deliberately disregarded this customary law restraint on attacks.”
No one has ever been punished for this mass murder of Azerbaijanis. Many of the perpetrators of Khojaly are even hailed as national heroes in Armenia, rewarded over the years with high ranking positions in the government, even the presidency.
I interviewed several survivors of the Khojaly Massacre. I also wrote a book about this horrific crime titled “Murder in the Mountains”.
On the night of February 26, 1992, a war crime and a crime against humanity was committed at Khojaly, Azerbaijan, in which over 600 men, women and children were brutally killed; hundreds are still missing. Thanks to the Internet, America knows it now.
The author is a well-known journalist based in San Diego, California, US.
A multi-award-winning independent documentary, Endless Corridor, dedicated to the Khojaly Genocide, is a film produced and directed by Aleksandras Brokas. Narrated by Oscar-winning actor Jeremy Irons, it has invariably proved deeply moving to its audiences – reducing some to tears.
Produced at the initiative of Vice President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Leyla Aliyeva, the film covers the events and the aftermath of the massacre of 613 people that took place in February 1992 during the Nagorno-Karabakh War. It follows two journalists, Lithuanian Ricardas (Richard) Lapaitis and Russian Victoria Ivleva, as they return to Azerbaijan to discover what had happened to survivors they had met at the time.
Endless Corridor premiered at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) in London in 2014.
“Khojaly’s icon” feature-documentary short film was demonstrated in Azerbaijan within the “Justice for Khojaly” international campaign initiated by Vice-President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Leyla Aliyeva on Feb. 25 referring to the official Facebook page of the campaign.
The film tells about an unknown five-year-old girl and her family killed in Khojaly town. She is one of 63 children who were brutally killed on the night from February 25 to February 26, 1992 by the Armenian military. It was impossible to identify this girl.
The story of an unknown five-year-old Azerbaijani girl reflects the whole inhuman essence of this bloody act of the Armenian military, which is a crime against all humanity.
The short film “The Sign of Khojaly” can be found on the website of the “Justice for Khojaly” campaign https://justiceforkhojaly.org , as well as on social networks by using the links below:
OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Standing Committee Meeting (OSCE PA) was held on February 24 as part of the winter session.
Reports by the President, Secretary General, Treasurer, Heads of Special Committees and other representatives of the OSCE PA were listened. Besides, the participants discussed the organization of future events of the Assembly.
Azay Guliyev, head of the Azerbaijani delegation to the OSCE PA also shared his views on the possible role of the OSCE PA in the establishment of a parliamentary dialogue between Armenia and Azerbaijan stated in the report by Secretary General Roberto Montella.
Snowy and stormy weather has been observed in Azerbaijan since February 23.
The height of snow cover in Baku and the Absheron Peninsula reached 5 cm today.
The snowfall in the capital froze the roads, causing traffic restrictions. Meteorologists forecast the frosty weather in Baku will prevail until February 25.
We present a video of the snow-blanketed Baku.
Demonstrators demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan stormed a university building in the Armenian capital, Yerevan.
Report informs, citing the Armenian media, that they entered the building of Yerevan State University.
Protesters are urging students to join the rallies.
Another group tried to enter the Armenian State University of Economics but was stopped by police.
A television show dedicated to the Khojaly genocide was broadcast on February 23 by Raoul Contreras, a well-known journalist who worked in San Diego, California, USA. The program is part of the author’s program -The Contreras Report: International Edition, the Consulate General of Azerbaijan in Los Angeles told Report.
Contreras is the author of the books “Murder in the Mountains: War Crime in Khojaly and the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict” and “Armenian Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy” and has published numerous articles about Azerbaijan in several influential media outlets.
In the program, the journalist emphasizes that in February 1992, the Armenian armed forces attacked the Azerbaijani city of Khojaly, killing many people, including children and women. He also noted that Armenian executioners tortured Azerbaijanis in captivity.
Contreras called the Khojaly massacre genocide and described it as a crime against humanity.
The author informed about the books written by western writers about the Khojaly genocide. He also quoted a book written by the brother of Monte Melkonian, an Armenian terrorist from California who took part in the genocide, and an interview with former Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan on the subject, noting how Armenians acknowledged the cruelties committed in Khojaly.
He stressed that the perpetrators of the Khojaly genocide had not been punished yet; many of them have been promoted to the level of national heroes in Armenia and hold high positions in the government.
The author then presented a short video about the atrocities committed in Khojaly by Khojaly witnesses.