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Event commemorating Khojaly massacre held in Tbilisi

Event commemorating Khojaly massacre held in Tbilisi

The Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan to Georgia and Mirza Fatali Akhundov Museum of Azerbaijan Culture have organized an event in Tbilisi dedicated to the 29th anniversary of the Khojaly genocide, one of the most tragic days in Azerbaijan's history.

Within the framework of the event, the photo gallery wall, with the photos featuring the Khojaly tragedy, was arranged. Initially, those present at the event honored the Khojaly tragedy victims with a one-minute silence. The event participants showed guests the 2008 documentary produced within the "Justice for Khojaly" International Awareness Campaign at the initiative of Vice-president of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, Leyla Aliyeva.

Leyla Aliyeva, the Director of Akhundov Museum of Azerbaijan Culture, addressed the event participants.

Ambassador of Azerbaijan to Georgia Faig Guliyev, Ambassador of Turkey Fatma Ceren Yazgan, the Ambassador of Saudi Arabia, representatives of Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Georgian public servants, attended the event.

"Lots of thanks for coming here today and paying homage to the Khojaly tragedy victims. February 26 marks the 29th anniversary of the Khojaly genocide, one of the most terrible tragedies of the last century. This aggressive act resulted in the occupation of 20% of Azerbaijan's territory, and more than a million Azerbaijanis were subject to violent evictions from their ancestral homeland. During this awful tragedy, more than 7,000 peaceful citizens were in the town.

Since 1991, the town has been occupied by Armenians. After the massive bombardment in 1992, the Armed Forces of Armenia, with the help of the Soviet Union troops, conquered Khojaly. The violent attack left 613 peaceful citizens dead and the town nearly ruined.

The Kjojaly tragedy is a clear testimony that similar actions by Armenians are systematic and aim to subject the peaceful population to genocide. The Armed Forces of Armenia trampled on citizens' fundamental rights to which they are entitled under the Geneva Convention," Faig Guliyev declared. 

On February 25-26, 1992, Armenian armed forces, with the help of the 366th Russian Regiment, attacked the town of Khojaly, which had been under siege for several months at night. A large-scale artillery bombardment preceded the raid, which began on February 25 evening. It led to a fire that engulfed the city by 5 o'clock on February 26. The remaining 2,500 people in Khojaly fled to Agdam, the nearest settlement, in the hope of surviving. However, the Armenian formations did not give them a chance.

According to the Azerbaijanian side's official statistics, 613 civilians got killed with extreme brutality, including 106 women, 63 children, and 70 elderly. 1275 civilians got captured, while the fate of 150 people, including 68 women and 26 children, is still unknown. 475 people suffered from various injuries. Eight families got killed entirely. Twenty-five children lost both parents, and 130 lost one of them.

In 2018, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan and the Prosecutor General's Office issued a joint statement on the tragedy in Khojaly, saying that "Azerbaijan and its citizens lost $170 million from the occupation of Khojaly by the Armenian armed forces."

After the tragedy, on February 28, a group of local reporters flew to the scene by two helicopters. The photos and videos of Khojaly victims, taken by local and foreign journalists, have traveled the world.

Foreign correspondents arrived there on March 1. World media later described the shocking picture of what they saw in Khojaly, saying the dead bodies were scattered around the area; some of them were missing body parts, others sculpted. Many corpses were destroyed or burnt by military hardware.

In 1994, at the initiative of the National Leader of Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev, a special decree was issued declaring February 26 "the Day of the Khojaly Genocide and National Mourning." The document describes the causes of the tragedy and the perpetrators.

Memorials to the victims of the Khojaly genocide have been erected in Baku and other cities. The Khojaly Massacre Memorial (Ana harayı) is located in the Khatai district of the capital of Azerbaijan.

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