Armenians leave Garabagh: no persecution, no pressure, no massacre
Azerbaijanis were not as lucky as Armenians
ANALYTICS 25 September 2023 - 15:16
Ethnic Armenian residents of Azerbaijan’s Garabagh region have been leaving the country for neighbouring Armenia since September 19.
The volunteer exodus of the Armenian population is facilitated by the Azerbaijani authorities through the Lachin border checkpoint. They have been freely crossing the border into Armenia on buses and private vehicles following a document control pause. Baku also ensured free fuel supplies for them at five gasoline stations in Khankendi.
The Armenian Ministerial Cabinet reported on September 25 that a total of 2,906 civilian people left Garabagh over the past week.
The voluntary migration started after the neutralization of the formations of the Armenian Armed Forces deployed in Garabagh by the Azerbaijani army. On September 19-20, the military of Azerbaijan conducted blitzkrieg counter-terrorism measures to end the illegal presence of the Armenian army units within the country’s borders.
Shortly after the surrender of the illegal troops on September 20, the Azerbaijani authorities hosted the representatives of Garabagh’s Armenian minority to discuss their future. Back then, Baku submitted plans for their reintegration into the local society, guaranteeing the provision of all fundamental rights for them.
In an address to the nation on September 20, President Ilham Aliyev once again publicly announced Baku’s vision regarding Garabagh Armenians, calling them the citizens of Azerbaijan.
President Aliyev pledged to ensure educational, cultural, religious, and municipal electoral rights for the Armenian minority of Garabagh. Moreover, he revealed plans for the socio-economic revival of the Azerbaijani territories inhabited by ethnic Armenians.
“We are ready for this, and the Azerbaijani people know this, and I am sure that the Armenian people also know that I am a man of my word. We propose this, and I hope that our proposal will be accepted. This proposal is based on logic, historical justice, international law and future development and is calculated for future growth,” President Aliyev said during his address to the nation.
However, most of the Armenian residents of Garabagh opted to leave the region instead of forming a part of the multi-ethnic Azerbaijani population. According to the Armenian government data, 95 per cent of the region’s Armenian minority are set to leave.
Although the government of Azerbaijan intends to reintegrate its Armenian citizens in Garabagh, it also does not hinder their migration to Armenia. Baku has clearly announced its approach: those who stay will be embraced; those who leave will be seen off.
Meanwhile, amidst the ongoing exodus of Armenians from Garabagh, their representatives were hosted again by Azerbaijani officials in the town of Khojaly on September 25. The talks reportedly address the issues pertaining to their reintegration and continuation of the humanitarian measures.
Representatives of Garabagh's Armenian minority in a meeting with Azerbaijani officials, September 25, 2023
Echoes from the early 1990s
Today, Khojaly hosts a meeting to facilitate the reintegration of ethnic Armenians into the society of Azerbaijan. In 1992, Khojaly staged one of the 20th century’s bloodiest massacres to facilitate the Armenian occupation of the Azerbaijani lands.
Armenians today leave Garabagh for another country free of persecution and pressure. However, the Azerbaijanis were not given the same chance despite the fact that they tried to leave their houses to neighbouring districts inside their homeland. They were deprived of all chances to survive.
The Khojaly genocide is considered one of the bloodiest massacres committed by Armenia against ethnic Azerbaijanis during the First Karabakh War in 1991-1994. The war ensued after Armenia’s invasion of the Azerbaijani borders shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The occupied cities, towns, and districts of Azerbaijan witnessed multiple atrocities against their civilian population. Khojaly was the pinnacle of mass killings.
Forcible expulsion of the Azerbaijanis from their hometowns in Garabagh, 1991-1994
Late into the night on February 25, Armenia’s forces, backed by the Infantry Guard Regiment No. 366 from a then-collapsed Soviet army, assaulted the town of Khojaly, located in the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan. As a result of the attack, the Armenian armed forces killed 613 ethnic Azerbaijanis, including 106 women, 63 children, and 70 elderly people; and took another 1,275 as hostages. Another 150 Azerbaijani nationals went missing, and their fates remain unknown to this day. Those suffering major injuries or having been maimed totalled 487, including 76 children.
Khojaly residents trying to escape the military invasion were ambushed by Armenian patrols and immediately killed, tortured, or tied and abandoned to death in the middle of frosty fields.
Rory Patricks, a British journalist for Front Line News media outlet, was one of numerous media representatives who flew to Khojaly to investigate the mass killing of ethnic Azerbaijanis. The reporter has then portrayed the scenery in the captured city, saying the atrocity in Khojaly cannot be justified by anything in the eyes of the world community.
“... where the journalists were hardly transferred by helicopter, I saw dozens of disfigured corpses. They were not defenders of Khojaly, but civilians of this Azerbaijani city - children, women, and old people shot at point-blank by the murderers, who [civilians] tried to break into Aghdam through the massive fire of the Armenian armed formations," Vishka newspaper quoted Patricks as saying in March 1992.
The bloody events in Khojaly and in the other territories of Azerbaijan led to the deaths of over 30,000 Azerbaijanis and the expulsion of 700,000 others in a brutal ethnic cleansing campaign conducted by Armenia. Around 4,000 Azerbaijanis went missing during the First Karabakh War. It is widely believed that the vast majority of them were systematically killed and buried in mass graves by Armenian forces.
Such graves have been discovered so far in the city of Shusha, in the villages of Bashlibel in Kalbajar, Edilli in Khojavand, Farrukh in Khojaly, Sarıjali in Aghdam region, Seyidahmadli in Fuzuli region and other settlements of the mentioned regions. The discovered mass graves and human remains testify to brutal tortures against the Azerbaijani captives before their murder and burial en masse.
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