Thousands of Azerbaijanis commemorate Khojaly victims
27 Feb 2017 - 12:01
BAKU, Azerbaijan: Thousands of Azerbaijanis in Baku on Sunday commemorated the 25th anniversary of the Khojaly massacre, a 1992 attack which took the lives of hundreds of civilians, including children.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and other Azerbaijani officials took part in the commemorative ceremony and march for the Khojaly victims at Azadlik Square in the capital Baku. People attending the ceremony held banners with photos of the victims.
After the march, Aliyev laid a wreath at the Mother’s Cry monument, erected in memory of the massacre. Turkish Ambassador to Azerbaijan Erkan Ozoral and hundreds of survivors and families of the victims also visited the monument in tears.
"One day there will be justice. Until around 1 million displaced refugees are back in their country Azerbaijan, this injustice will grow bigger with each passing day," Ozoral told Anadolu Agency.
According to Turkish Foreign Ministry, 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s territory remains under Armenian occupation, with around 1 million Azerbaijanis in the area living as refugees.
The massacre of Feb. 25-26, 1992 is regarded as one of the bloodiest and most controversial incidents of the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan for control of the now-occupied Upper Karabakh region.
On the heels of the Soviet Union’s dissolution, Armenian forces took over the town of Khojaly in Karabakh on Feb. 26 after battering it with heavy artillery and tanks, assisted by an infantry regiment. When the massacre happened, the population of the town was more than 11,000.
The two-hour offensive killed 613 Azeri citizens, including 116 women and 63 children and critically injured 487 others, according to Azerbaijani figures. One hundred and fifty of the 1,275 Azerbaijanis that the Armenians captured during the massacre remain missing.