On the night from February 25 to 26, Armenian armed units, with the assistance of tanks, IFVs and staff of Stepanakert's 366th motorized infantry regiment, carried out the capture of the town of Khojaly.
No, not the entire regiment, but only the second battalion took part in it. The regiment's command was unaware of what was going on. The preparation for the assault was secret. Nevertheless, the second battalion's commander was one of the leaders of the assault.
Why did it happen this way? It's simple enough!
The second battalion's commander, almost all officers, as well as all warrant officers of the battalion were Armenian. On that night, they gathered all Armenian soldiers, as well as several volunteers of other nationalities, in the regiment, and, with a preliminary agreement with the leaders of Artsakh's National Liberation Army, jointly began the assault of Khojaly.
Two-hour artillery shelling of the town from tanks, IFVs, APCs and modified Alazan missiles began at 11:00pm. Then, from 1:00am to 4:00am, Armenian armed detachments began an attack on the town. Meanwhile, the soldiers of the 366th regiment did not enter the town.
The Khojaly garrison's resistance was broken quickly. A large fire broke out in the town by 5:00am. Almost the whole town was on fire…
Still before the start of the artillery shelling, the Armenians announced via loudspeakers, installed on APCs, that a "free corridor" was created for the people to leave Khojaly in the direction of Aghdam. The Armenians warned that they would leave out the unarmed people only.
And soon after the beginning of the assault, some of the people started leaving the town, trying to go in the direction of Aghdam. Some of those fleeing groups included members of Azerbaijani OMON and armed people from the town's garrison. On seeing the Armenian outposts, those armed jigits opened fire on them… The Armenians returned the fire. The number of victims was rising…
The Azerbaijanis, from Aghdam, attempted an armed breakthrough in the direction of the "free corridor." Several warrant officers from our field engineer battalion voluntarily participated in the breakthrough. Two of them died. Our militia officer, senior lieutenant of militia Vagif Iskenderov was among those who died there.
At the moment when the Armenian outposts were repelling the attack, the first groups of refugees from Khojaly approached them in the rear. Among them were members of OMON. They opened fire on the outpost…As a result, one post was destroyed completely. But there was a second post and the Azerbaijanis did not even suspect that it existed. And from that post, from a close distance, the Armenians began shooting down the Khojaly refugees from machineguns. They were killing without distinction – both armed and unarmed Azerbaijanis. They were killing adults, children, youths and old men…The road was gradually turning into a jumble of blood and snow, sown with dead bodies…
Near the Armenian village of Nakhichevanik, the refugees came under a heavy fire from the Armenian APCs…The bloody corpses were lying side by side, on each other…
A part of the Azerbaijani column went in the direction of the village of Gulably and some 200 people were taken captive there.
Those who survived, almost mad, managed to get to Aghdam. But these were only the people who went to Aghdam from Khojaly, leaving Armenian village Askeran to the left. However, there was also a second flow of refugees.
The people who went that way bypassed Askeran from the right side. They were also shot by the Armenians. They were shooting without hunting for armed jigits among those fleeing. The Armenians took some as hostages, they killed some on the spot and cut off the heads of Azerbaijani OMON members with axes. They put out the eyes of some of the hostages, cut off their ears, scalped and then killed.
Many of the refugees lost their way and froze to death. Those who managed to reach Aghdam had serious frostbites.
When the town of Khojaly was taken by the Armenians, there were some 300 Azerbaijani civilians in the town. They all were taken hostages, and were moved to Stepanakert and Askeran within three days. The town of Khojaly was plundered, then Armenian refugees from Azerbaijan began to settle there.
The number of refugees from Khojaly was rising increasingly in Aghdam. The people were extremely angry and did not distinguish who was guilty and who was not. And by the end of February 27, the Azerbaijanis began to throw stones, over the fence, towards our battalion. It continued until late evening.