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Azerbaijan Commemorates Mass Killing of Servicemen by Armenian Troops in Karabakh Region

By Ilham Karimli August 15, 2022

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The Dashbashi strategic height located between the Jabrayil and Khojavand regions of Azerbaijan / Courtesy

Twenty-nine years have passed since the mass killing of Azerbaijani servicemen by the Armenian military at the Dashbashi military post in the Karabakh region.

The incident, which took place on August 15, 1993, saw an Armenian armed group launch a sudden offensive on the Dashbashi checkpoint where 23 Azerbaijani servicemen were stationed. None of the targeted servicemen survived the attack as Armenia had twice the number of troops as Azerbaijan at the time. 

Following the incident, the Armenian troops desecrated the corpses of Azerbaijani servicemen.

“My aunt's son also died here. It was very strange. The post was surrounded, 23 soldiers were brutally killed and tortured. Some had their heads, arms and eyes removed from their bodies. They went over the corpses with a chain tractor,” said Farzali Hasanov, a resident of Jabrayil.

According to Jeyhun Mammadov, a member of the Azerbaijani parliament from Jabrayil, the Dashbashi military post was created to provide air defense support to Azerbaijani forces deployed in the area.

“In order to defend the Dashbashi position itself, an additional artillery guard post consisting of five people was created on Mulkadara Height, located on the other side of the highland. A total of 28 young servicemen were stationed at both posts,” Mammadov said. The post of Dashbashi was one of the most important posts for Jabrayil. That’s why Armenians attacked it massively in a pre-planned offensive at around 4-5 AM on the night from August 14 to 15 and captured the height.”

The mass killing of Azerbaijani servicemen in Dashbashi occurred during the First Karabakh War between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Following the Soviet Union’s dissolution in 1991, Armenia launched a full-blown military aggression against Azerbaijan, with the latter’s Karabakh (Garabagh) region being a key focus. The longest and deadliest war in the South Caucasus region ended with a ceasefire in 1994 and saw Armenia forcibly occupying 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s internationally recognized territories. Over 30,000 Azerbaijanis were killed and one million were expelled from those lands in a brutal ethnic cleansing policy conducted by Armenia.

The Khojaly genocide is considered the pinnacle of the massacres committed by Armenia against ethnic Azerbaijanis in the First Karabakh War. On the night from August 25 to 26, Armenia’s forces, backed by the Infantry Guard Regiment No. 366 from a then-collapsed Soviet army, assaulted the town of Khojaly, located in the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan. As a result of the attack, the Armenian armed forces killed 613 ethnic Azerbaijanis, including 106 women, 63 children and 70 elderly people, and took another 1,275 as hostages. Another 150 Azerbaijani nationals went missing, and their fates remain unknown to this day. A total of 487 people were injured, including 76 children.

Meanwhile, according to data compiled by the Azerbaijani government, 3,890 Azerbaijani citizens, including 71 children, 267 women, and 326 older adults, went missing during the same war. Baku has been demanding that Armenia assist in investigating the fate of those people, a request that remains unfulfilled.

On September 27, 2020, the decades-old conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan took a violent turn after Armenia’s forces deployed in the occupied Azerbaijani lands shelled military positions and civilian settlements of Azerbaijan. During the counter-attack operations that lasted 44 days, Azerbaijani forces liberated over 300 settlements, including the cities of Jabrayil, Fuzuli, Zangilan, Gubadli, and Shusha, from a nearly 30-year-long illegal Armenian occupation. The war ended with the signing of a tripartite statement on November 10, 2020, by Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia. Under the statement, Armenia also returned the occupied Aghdam, Kalbajar and Lachin districts to Azerbaijan.

The post of Dashbashi and the village of the same name were liberated from the Armenian occupation on October 20, 2020.