Research Intern at Center for Global & Strategic Studies (CGSS), Islamabad
Armenia is a country that is well known for its genocide, ethnic cleansing, and state terrorism. History shows the Armenian aggression and use of brutal power in occupied territories of Azerbaijan. The history of the Armenian nationalist’s policy of genocide against the Azerbaijani people dates back to the early 20th century. For over 20 years, Armenia has continued to illegally occupy around 20% of Azerbaijan’s legal internationally recognized territory including the region of Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding districts. Armenia under its aggressive policy carried out medieval-style land grab in 1991-94. It started invading Azerbaijan’s territories which resulted in brutal massacres and ethnic cleansing of Azerbaijani civilians. Azerbaijanis were forced to leave their ancestral lands under the Armenian deportation policy. United nations security council adopted four resolutions in 1993 demanded the immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of the Armenian occupying forces from all occupied regions but Armenia failed to fulfill these binding of U.N security council resolutions. This article intends to examine the Armenian atrocities in the occupied regions.
Atrocities in the Occupied
The region of Nagorno- Karabakh remains to be one of the most controversial issues of the twentieth century between Azerbaijan and Armenia. The treaty of Versailles peace conference recognized Nagorno-Karabakh as part of the Azerbaijan democratic republic of 1918-1920 Armenia did not abandon its demand on the territory. At the beginning of the 1920’s south Caucasus countries again became part of the Soviet Union. In 1988 as the Soviet Union began to disintegrate, Armenia started demanding the inclusion of Nagorno Karabakh to Armenia. Armenian parliament passed an illegal resolution calling for the incorporation of Nagorno-Karabakh into the Armenian Socialist Republic. Armenia started undeclared war to make the future ‘Great Armenia’state at the expense of Azerbaijan. During this war, various atrocities were committed against the Azerbaijani civilian population. By 1991,250,000 Azerbaijani had been expelled from Armenia. Throughout 1992 and 1993, by using foreign military and material assistance the Armenia invaded Nagorno-Karabakh, Karkichan, Malibeyli, and . Armenian forces carried out large scale destructions in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. Armenians aggression in Nagorno- Karabakh traced serious physical, material, and moral consequences for the Azerbaijan and the whole region of South Caucasus at large.
State commission for prisoners of war, hostages, and missing persons prove that Armenian violated the Geneva Convention on the protection of war victims by killing, torturing, and psychologically damaging captured Azerbaijani citizens. On 16 February 1994, the Armenian ministry of foreign affairs announced that eight Azerbaijani prisoners of war were killed while attempting to escape from prison. Medical examination of the dead bodies in Baku revealed that Azerbaijani POW’s had been executed using the same pistol shot at a short distance from the temple and rejected the notion that they had been killed while trying to escape. Armenians followed a policy of genocide against Azerbaijani captives and hostages. Hundreds of Azerbaijani citizens, including women, children, and the elderly, suffered unbearable torture in Armenian captivity. They were severely beaten, intentionally crippled, and branded on the chest. They had their nails and teeth removed, wounds filled with salt and benzene injected into their veins.
Azerbaijan became the subject of Armenian terrorism since the beginning of the 20th century. Terrorism has been used by Armenian as an effective tool for acquiring resources and territory to create a sole living space for Armenians scattered across the world. These terrorist attacks reached its highest point during the first Russian revolution in 1905-1907 and 1918-1920. After the independence of Armenia, it began to support terrorism on an official level as a state. The republic of Armenia justified the use of terror to advance its territorial claims against Azerbaijan. It adopted terrorism as an integral part of its aggressive policy. Armenian terrorists acted with special cruelty. They spared neither elderly nor women and children, leaving behind burned and destroyed villages. A brutal example of Armenian terrorism was the massacre against Azerbaijanis in March 1918. While the Azerbaijanis were celebrating their most cherished holiday-Novruz, thousands of armed terrorists of the Armenian revolutionary federation Dashnaktsutiun (ARFD) began raiding cities and villages all over Azerbaijan and slaughteredAzerbaijanis with cruelty. 20,000 Azerbaijanis lost their life, 167 villages were destroyed, 35 of which were completely wiped out. This massacre of 1918 was a more skillfully prepared and ruthlessly implemented act than 1905-1907 attacks. Since the end of the 1980s, Azerbaijan has again become the target of Armenian terrorism. With the onset of the Karabakh issue in the 1980s the activities of Armenian terror organizations were diverted to Azerbaijan. 1980s marked sporadic terror acts by Armenian terrorists, mainly involving bombings of public buses and metro trains in the territory of Azerbaijan, as a result, many of Azerbaijani civilians were killed and wounded.
Azerbaijani were subjected to mass deportation three times from 1918 until the end of 1980’s/early 1990, from 1918-1920, from 1948-1953 and from the end of the 1980s to the early 1990s.
After the creation of the Armenian state in the south Caucasus in 1918, the Azerbaijanis were forced to expel from their ancestral lands under their deportation policy. These deportations were carried out directly by the newly established Armenian state. Not only deportations but the massacre also happened. Based on calculation made by Armenian sources, 565,000 of 575,000 Azerbaijani living in the territory of Armenia were killed or expelled. During the Soviet era, a certain number of Azerbaijanis who had been deported from Armenia returned to their former lands. From 1920-30 ideological declarations like proletarian internationalism were screening for organizing the oppression of Azerbaijanis in the Armenian SSR. From 1948-1953 about 100,000 Azerbaijanis were expelled from the Armenian SSR. All the property, history, and cultural momentums belonging to these people were left in Armenian SSR. The deportation of Azerbaijanis from the Armenian SSR from 1948-1953 was one of the hardest episodes in the history of soviet deportations. Armenian government maintained its anti-Azerbaijani policy. In the 1980s there were further deportations of Azerbaijanis from the Armenian SSR to press territorial claim on Azerbaijan. These deportations were on a large scale and more than 250,000 Azerbaijanis were expelled from 1988-1989.
The worst atrocity took place on 26th February 1992. For its inhumane nature, cruelty, and barbarity, the Khojaly genocide is the worst crime committed against the peaceful Azerbaijani people in the course of Armenia’s aggressive war against Azerbaijan. Khojaly genocide by Armenian armed forces was predetermined by the strategic location of the city. This city was home to 7000 people situated 10 kilometers to the south-east from Khankendi. Harboring the only airport in the Nagorno-Karabakh. Khojaly was a strategically important centre of communication. There were the textile factories, 2 secondary schools and 2 partial secondary school in the city. One of the first goals of Armenian armed forces was the eradication of Khojaly base to open the corridor connected Askeran village and Stepanakert across the city and unblocking of the only airport in the area. Khojaly was blocked since October 1991. Helicopter was the only way of transportation. This city was well known for the courage of its population and heroism of its defenders. From February Khojaly was encircled by Armenian armed forces and subjected to daily artillery and hard military equipment firing. On the night of February 25-26, Armenia started military operation including irregular armed bands and terrorist groups assisted by an infantry regiment. Khojaly suffered massive artillery bombardment from the positions occupied by Armenian armed forces. With the direct participation of regiment No 366, Khojaly was blocked from three sides. People tried to escape to nearby forests and villages but in vain. As a result, 613 civilians perished, including 106 women and 63 children. This brutal attack was part of Armenia’s deliberate policy of terror. Several independent Investigations revealed disfigured corpses, dead women and children, and the murder of fleeing civilians. This extreme fighting ended in a ceasefire in 1994. Now, the Armenian has an illegal occupation on Nagorno-Karabakh.
The history provides us various examples of atrocities by Armenians against the peaceful Azerbaijani people. The Armenian intermittent but well thought out policy of genocide resulted in the slaughter of thousands of innocent Azerbaijanis, burning down of their homes and plunder of their property. Inspired by the idea of creating great Armenia, the Armenians carried out a bloody massacre, expelled thousands of people from their ancestral lands, and captured their territories. Even in the present day, we can see the deadly policies of Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Armenia has been labeled as a conspirator and destructor of humanity because of its aggressive policies.