Mass grave unearthed in Karabakh
Believed to hold victims of the Khojali Massacre, a mass grave has been discovered in the Askeran district of Azerbaijan's Karabakh region.
The State Committee of Azerbaijan for Prisoners of War, Hostages, and Missing Persons revealed that excavations were initiated in various locations within the Askeran district based on the testimony of Rashid Beglaryan. Beglaryan was detained in September 2023 on suspicion of involvement in the Khojali Massacre during an anti-terrorism operation in Karabakh.
According to the committee's statement, the excavation efforts yielded a mass grave containing the remains of 8 individuals.
During his interrogation, Beglaryan admitted to his role in the events, stating that on February 26, 1992, the group he was affiliated with ambushed and killed around 200 Azerbaijani civilians near Askeran Fortress, confessing to burying some of the victims on site.
Excavation activities are reported to be ongoing in the area.
The background story of the Khojali Massacre
The Khojaly massacre, occurring on February 26, 1992, was a tragic event during the Karabakh conflict, marked by the mass killing of Azerbaijani civilians by Armenian forces and the 366th CIS regiment in the town of Khojaly. At the time, Khojaly, with a population of approximately 6,300 people, was under daily shelling and blockade by Armenian forces. The town, which housed the region's sole airport, was defended by local forces comprising roughly 160 lightly armed men. In early 1992, Armenian forces, aided by troops from the 366th CIS regiment, launched a devastating offensive, leading to the flight of almost the entire Azerbaijani population. The massacre, described as a turning point in the conflict, resulted in a death toll of 613 civilians according to Azerbaijani authorities, including 106 women and 63 children.