I was in charge of the Askeran direction of the front line and I state that a corridor was provided for the peaceful population of Khodjalu which was guarded by both the Armenian force and armed Azerbaijanis. It was a railroad, the shortest and safest way to Agdam. We had announced beforehand for a several times that the way would be open, said Lieutenant-General Vitaly Balasanyan, former deputy minister of defense of NKR, in an interview with the KarabakhOpen.com.
“The Khodjalu authorities were to take people through the corridor. However, the people were left to choose their way themselves. Some of them died of cold, but most of them were shot by the Azerbaijanis waiting for them near Agdam. Now photos of people who died at that time are exposed who are reported to have been killed by Armenians. I personally guarded the corridor and I can state that these people were killed by Azerbaijanis. At that time, it was favorable for certain people who were trying to come to power in Baku.
Immediately after Khodjalu they accused the Popular Front, now they are accusing the Armenians. At that time the Azerbaijani soldiers and we gathered the bodies and returned to the Azerbaijanis. Those who were there at that time should display courage and tell the truth to stop poisoning the generation with hatred,” Vitaly Balasanyan said.
“I personally returned about 100 people to the commander of the Agdam brigade Allaverdi Mashirov, referred to as “Godja Gartal”. Allaverdi is not alive but his soldiers are alive who witnessed all. Let the people of Khadjalu remember how we took them to the border. I also want to remind how the mayor of Khodjalu Elman Mamedov got to Agdam. His family was in Agdam, he got there through the same railroad. Why is he lying to his own people ? At that time there were 735 guns in Khodjalu, and Mamedov had to organize the defense of his people. However, the person who held people in the captured village till the last minute but ran away the first, whereas the Azerbaijanis accuse Armenians of everything. I am ready to meet with E. Mamedov and discuss all these questions,” Valery Balasanyan said.
Recalling those hard times, the general told that during the movement of Artsakh Khodjalu was turned into a den of bandits by the Azerbaijanis. In a few years the village was built up and Turk-Meskhetis settled here. The men were armed. “Day by day the threat from Khodjalu grew. Soon attacks on the road began - they threw stones at the cars, stopped the cars and beat people. The events in Khodjalu, Lesno, Karagava, Khodjavend and other Azerbaijani areas in 1988-1990 were directed by Baku.
The Armenian authorities organized a number of meetings with the Azerbaijani authorities, agreement was reached to stop attacks on civilians. However, the Azerbaijanis did not stop. On February 22, 1988 the Azerbaijani insurgents moved from Agdam towards Armenian Askeran, armed with anything they had. The roads connecting Stepanakert with some villages were blocked. It was already necessary to neutralize Khodjalu,” says the general.
Khodjalu, as well as many other villages in Karabakh, had originally been settled by Armenians. The Armenian population left these villages as a result of the Azerbaijani policy. The Armenian fortress or Askeran and the small village of Khodjalu did not let the Azerbaijanis capture Shushi early in the past century. This made the Baku authorities to settle the areas around Shushi with Azerbaijanis and create a chain of Azerbaijani villages around the capital of Karabakh - Khodjalu, Malibeklu, Djanhasan, Kiosalar, Molanlar, Alimadatli, Aliagha in the right, Avdal and Gyulaplu in the south. Those were far-reaching plans to capture Karabakh in a peaceful demographic way, because all the violent attempts to get hold of the country had failed.
27-02-2007 13:20:48 - Karabakh http://www.karabakhopen.com/src/index.php ?lang=en&id=3&nid=2409
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