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Lala Askerova

My son-in-law was killed in Khojaly and we brought up his four children. We had a two-storey house in Aghdam, with four rooms. We were in the richest part of Karabakh. We settled the children in different dormitories. The house was near the military base and the flour mill. They always shot at our house... I remember a Grad missile blew up a young girl who was engaged. My husband was a builder. He died before the disaster - many died from stress after (attacks began in) 1988.

We fled with nothing, only a blanket. I was in a panic when we fled, I couldn't hear my eldest son calling... We couldn't think about anything, only about surviving. There we were between dead and alive... there was no advance warning, the attack came suddenly.

My youngest son says that when the land is liberated he will run there barefoot. Everyone was employed in the plants and factories.

Granddaughter Ilaha added brief comments confirming the state of siege within Khojaly even before the final attack.

My father was killed on duty with the self-defence brigade, two days before the final attack. I was 7 years old.

On the day of the final attack I and my brother and two sisters were in Aghdam with my grandmother. There were no doctors in Khojaly and all the roads had been blocked by the Armenians, so we were taken to Aghdam by helicopter.

Interviewed by Ian Peart
Story source: Book “Khojaly Witness of a War Crime - Armenia in the Dock”,
published by Ithaca Press, London 2014