|Xocali (Hojali, Khojaly, Khodzhaly)||
Xocali's fame came only from its tragic fate. For several weeks the town was besieged by Armenian forces and had contact with the outside world only by sporadic helicopter flights. The handful of defenders had little experience, almost no equipment and above all scarce or no support from Baku.
Then on February 26 1992, precisely 4 years after the Sumgait massacres, the Armenians decided to make a final advance. The choice of such a date clearly indicated an intention to revenge the Armenian victims of Sumgait. The Armenian troops advanced in three directions, leaving an open escape way in the direction of Agdam. The people of Xocali tried to escape along the the Gorgor river, with the retreating Azeri troops trying to provide some sort of protection from the hills.
But only 10 kilometres from Agdam, near the village of Nakhichevaniki a tragedy was going to happen. Armenian troops in the hills performed one of the most horrific massacres of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict - shooting from the hills at the defenceless fleeing refugees.
At least 477 people were killed, although some estimates point to a number as high as one thousand. Some rumours indicate that besides the Armenians, Russian troops were also involved in the massacre, namely the 366th Motorized Infantry Brigade of the Interior Ministry, at the time based in Xankandi.
Xocali itself was burnt by the invaders and now only ruins remain. The town has an archaeological station, where over 100 tombs dating from the 2nd millennum bc can be seen - some have been excavated.
(345 km west of Baku)
|see also: places, Agdam, Xankandi, Shusha, Barda, Sumgait, maps, visas, history, summary, photos|
|A to Z of Azerbaijan / A dan Z ye Azerbaycan||