"They've gouged out hostages' eyes, cut off their ears, scalped, and then killed them..."
Massacre of civilian population in the Azerbaijani city of Khojaly has numerous documented evidences, including eyewitnesses' accounts, accounts of soldiers of the Russian army. Gradator.ru website cites acoount of Yuri Girchenko, who served in the sapper battalion dispached to Aghdam in 1992. In his book "Army of the State That Doesn't Exist," Yuri Girchenko says: "... on the night of February 25-26, Armenian armed forces with the support of tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and personnel of the Stepanakert 366th motorized rifle regiment took over the city of Khojaly."
According to Girchenko, not the entire regiment participated in occupation of Khojaly, only the second battalion.
"Preparation for this operation took place in secret. But still, commander of the second battalion was one of the leaders of this operation. Why did it happen? It's simple! Commander of the second battalion, and almost all officers of the battalion were Armenians."
On that night, as Girchenko recalls, they gathered all Armenian soldiers in the regiment, as well as several volunteers of other nationalities, and began joint assault on Khojaly together with Armenian troops.
"At 11 PM, two-hour massive shelling of the city from tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, armored personnel carriers and modified Alazan systems has began. Then, from 1 AM till 4 AM, Armenian armed units launched an offensive operation on the city. Soldiers of the 366th regiment didn't enter the city. Resistance of the Khojaly garrison was quickly suppressed. By 5 AM, a large fire broke out in the city. Almost the entire city was burning..."
“Even before the shelling began, Armenians shouted through the speakers installed on armored personnel carriers that “free corridor" has been created for people who want to leave Khojaly and head towards Aghdam. Armenians warned that only unarmed people would be able to pass and leave the city."
Yuri Girchenko notes that "there was a second post of Armenian armed forces, of which Azerbaijanis didn't know. When people reached this post, Armenians began to shoot Khojaly refugees with machine guns. They killed both armed and unarmed Azerbaijanis. They killed both adults and children, young and old people... This path gradually turned into a bloody mess. There were so many corpses..."
According to Girchenko, refugees near the Nakhichevanik village got caught in heavy fire of Armenian armored personnel carriers.
“Bloody corpses laid side by side, on top of each other. Part of the Azerbaijani convoy went in the direction of the Gulably village. About two hundred people were captured there. Those who survived went to Aghdam, leaving through the Askeran village, but there was also a second stream of refugees."
According to Girchenko, people following this route avoided Askeran, but they were still shot by Armenians. Armenians attacked them withouth even checking whether they were armed or not.
"Armenians took hostages, while some of Azerbaijanis were killed on the spot, and heads of Azerbaijani riot policemen were chopped off with axes. Armenians gouged out some of the hostages' eyes, cut off their ears, scalped and then killed them... Many refugees tried to run away and simply froze to death. those who did get to Aghdam suffered severe frostbite," Girchenko added.
"After Khojaly was occupied by Armenians, about three hundred Azerbaijani civilians still remained in it. All of them were taken hostage and were brought to Stepanakert and Askeran in three days. Khojaly was plundered..."
Many media outlets and other eyewitnesses discrive these days as terrible crime.
"Two groups, bodies of members of two families, apparently, laid side by side. Women tried to cover their children. Some of them, including a little girl, had monstrous wounds on their heads: only their faces remained intact," British journalists wrote from the scene of this tragedy.
According to investigation, carried out by Azerbaijani side, 613 people died during tragic events in Khojaly. 63 of them were children. 8 families were killed completely, 130 children lost one of their parents, 25 remained orphans. 487 people were injured, 76 of them were children. 150 more people are missing.
No one was punished for this bloody slaughter.
Serzh Sargsyan, who was one of the Karabakh field commanders at that time, and even became President of Armenia later, initially stated that Armenians prefer "not to talk about this event" out loud.
However, Sargsyan spoke more frankly later:
“Before Khojaly, Azerbaijanis thought that it was possible to mess with us, they thought that Armenians are not able to go against civilian population. We crushed this stereotype. That's what happened.”