The Liberation of Khojaly (Armenian: Խոջալու, Khojalu), 1992, military operation for raising the blockade of the airport of Nagorno Kharabakh Republic (located near the village Khojaly, 7 km away from Stepanakert) and for elimination of the enemy weapon emplacements. It took place on February 25-26 in 1992. Since spring 1991 the settlements of NKR were regularly attacked by Azerbaijani OMON and bombed from multiple rocket launcher "Alazan", "Crystal", and Combat vehicle -21 "Grad" from Khojaly. 700 Armenian peaceful civilians were taken hostages, hundreds of hectares of grain sowing areas were destroyed and the most of the settlements were deprived of electricity and water supply during this time. The continuing siege, firing, large number of refugees, lack of fuel, industrial including the forced outage of food processing enterprises, regional blockade of roads, etc. aggravated the  situation in NKR, especially in Stepanakert, and there was  food and fuel shortage. In January-February bread per-month didn’t exceed 400 gramme which caused hunger at the end of the month. Infectious diseases broke out in some areas. Rescuing people from starvation, medical assistance, and raising the blockade of the only airport and elimination of the enemy weapon emplacements of Khojaly became a vital necessity. Prior to it, armed subdivisions of soldiers were deployed to Khojaly, Meskhetian Turks deported from  Uzbekistan were resettled in Khojaly  by the efforts of Azerbaijani Popular Front and thus, the population in 1989 from 2135 people rose to 6000 in 1991.

 The liberation and the raise of the airport blockade (the commander was A. Ter-Tadevosyan) began on February 25, 1992 at 23:30 p.m. and finished on February 26 at 3 a.m.. The subdivisions of Nagorno Karabakh Republic Self-defense forces, which attacked Khojaly, left a corridor for the civilians to escape the military operations, the Azerbaijanis were aware of it. But the latter didn’t take any steps to take the civilians out of the zone of military operations. 

 After the military operation of Khojaly, NKR self-defense forces  freed 13 Armenian hostages, including  1 child and 6 women,  the war trophies were 2  combat vehicles-21 <<Grad>>  multiple rocket launcher, 4 <<Alazan>> launchers, 4 cannons of 100 mm and 3 armoured fighting vehicles. NKR “Artsakh” rescue service found dead bodies of  11 Azerbaijani civilians in Khojaly and near its territory.  Hundreds of Khojaly  civilians died  on the approaches of Aghdam, where the regional subdivision of  Armed forces of the Republic of Azerbaijan was settled. The Azerbaijani official propaganda tries to condemn the Armenians for the massacre of Khojaly civilians, but even the president of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ayaz Mutalibov  confessed in 1992, “the Armenians  left the corridor, with the help of which people  could escape”, and “there were enough forces near Aghdam to help people” (“Nezavisimaya gazeta”, 2.4.1992)

The civilians of Khojaly who didn’t leave Khojaly for different reasons, surrendered to the Armenians according to their free will. 

Melik-Shahnazaryan L.


Source - Kharabakh Liberation War, 1988-1994, Armenian Encyclopedia edition, Yerevan, 2004. (in Armenian).


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