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Azerbaijanis calls for justice for Khojaly

Azerbaijanis in Baku came together on Tuesday at a series of events to commemorate the Khojaly tragedy, in which 613 innocent Azerbaijanis brutally killed and then tortured. Survivors of the Khojaly massacre also took part in the commemoration ceremonies. Among the demonstrators was Ganire Ebilova, whose son Mezahir was killed during the Khojaly massacre. She said that one day she hopes to be able to honor her son in Khojaly, adding that Azerbaijan's occupied territories should be returned as soon as possible. “We want to return back to our lands. Our ancestors are sleeping there,” Maryam Aliyeva, another survivor of the Khojaly massacre, said. Losing her husband and cousins in the Khojaly massacre, Rafiga Gayibova, a woman from Aghdam, a partially occupied town in Nagorno-Karabakh, said in an interview to Today's Zaman that war should be started against Armenia. “A war should be launched and all these crimes should be avenged. I, myself, will go to fight to get our lands back,” Gayibova said. Another woman, Mehriban, a Meskhetian Turk, recounted the tragedy and the acts of torture with photos that she brought to the demonstration.
 
In an address at the commemoration ceremony, Eflatun Amaşov, head of Azerbaijan's Press Council, condemned the international community for keeping silent about the atrocities committed against innocent people in Azerbaijan on Feb. 26, 1992.
 
The Khojaly massacre is considered to be one of the worst atrocities of the Nagorno-Karabakh war, a bloody armed conflict that erupted between two neighboring post-Soviet countries, Armenia and Azerbaijan, in 1988-1994, when Armenia started to militarily back the secessionist ethnic Armenians in Azerbaijan's enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh. As the war progressed, the full-scale fighting resulted in the occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh, along with seven adjacent Azerbaijani territories, by Armenia, with 30,000 people killed from both sides. Hundreds of thousands fled their homes before a truce was signed in 1994, but there was no peace treaty.
 
Twenty-one years have passed since the Khojaly massacre, when 613 innocent Azeris, including 63 children and 106 women, were brutally killed by Armenian soldiers directed by current Armenian President Serzh Sarksyan, along with Russia's 366th armored battalion.
 
For years Azerbaijan has been carrying out an international campaign to have the Khojaly massacre recognized worldwide. The Khojaly massacre has so far been recognized by the parliaments of Turkey, Pakistan and Mexico. Moreover, US states including New Mexico, Texas, New Jersey, Georgia, Maine and Arkansas, as well as the international Organization of Islamic Cooperation, have adopted resolutions recognizing the Khojaly massacre.

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