Tekeyan Cultural Association of U.S. and Canada continues to provide material assistance to families of soldiers killed during Four-Day Artsakh War

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On December 3, 2016, with the accompaniment of Vice-Chairman of the Armenian Democratic Liberal Party (Ramgavar) Karen Kakoyan and Editor of Arevelq website Sako Arian, we left for the Kamaris village of Kotayk Province to visit the family of Private Azat Simonyan (born in 1996). Azat Simonyan was living with his grandparents Kajik and Vehanush and his sister Hripsime. Before being drafted, Azat was studying at the Food Industry College and was preparing to become a chef. His mother, Vehanush said the following: “Azat went to serve in the army with pleasure. He had some health problems, but he didn’t want to be left behind. He rushed to serve in the army and return to work in the food industry. Azat was serving in the Jabrayil unit of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. On the morning of 1 April, he called his parents and even his uncle in Moscow and told them that he was fine and that they shouldn’t worry about him. Azat was on duty when the enemy suddenly opened fire and started attacking. Azat wasn’t afraid. He fought courageously with the other soldiers and pushed the adversary back. Azat Simonyan died as a courageous soldier. He was posthumously awarded with the Order of Great Courage of the Republic of Armenia and the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.

The next family we visited was the family of Private Vahe Zakaryan (born in 1995) in the micro-district of the city of Hrazdan of Kotayk Province. Vahe lived with his parents Samvel and Angela and two sisters, Yeranuhi and Anahit in the Russian Federation. The family had a small business. Vahe was studying at the Institute of Physical Culture and was taking Oriental martial arts lessons. His mother, Angela proudly showed her son’s red and black belts that were displayed in a corner dedicated to the memory of her son. “Vahe had a children’s Oriental martial arts club in Moscow and was very connected to the children.” Vahe returns to Yerevan and is drafted to the Armenian Army. His father, Samvel said that he had talked to his son (a tanker) on 1 April (the day before his death) via Skype. Vahe was calm and self-confident and told his father that there were some shootings on the border. On April 2, the crew of tankers advanced several times from the frontiers of the battalion and struck the enemy. Vahe died after being shot by the adversary. Vahe Zakaryan has been posthumously awarded with the Order of Great Courage of the Republic of Armenia and the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.

The next family we visited was the family of Private Sargis Sahakyan (born in 1995) in the micro-district of the city of Hrazdan of Kotayk Province. Sargis was living with his parents and younger sister, Ruzanna in an apartment and in dire social conditions. We met the family near the entrance to their apartment as they were getting ready to visit Sargis’s tombstone. Sargis’s mother, Tamara was very ill. Tamara and Sargis’s father, Armenak showed the corner dedicated to the memory of their son, Sargis. In a silent voice, she was crying and telling the following story: On 2 April, she heard her son’s voice for the last time. He was telling her that the situation on the border was complicated. He didn’t tell his mother about the danger. During the military operation to seize the military position seized by the adversary, Sargis showed courage and self-dedication, fought and eliminated several fighters amid the shootings. He died from the explosion of a mine released from the adversary’s mortar. Sargis Sahayan has been posthumously awarded with the Order of Great Courage of the Republic of Armenia and the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.

Artur Gevorgyan’s family was living in the city of Abovyan of Kotayk Province. The family of Private Artur Gevorgyan (born in 1996) was renovating their home. Artur’s mother, Greta said: “I was living in Russia with my husband, son and daughter, Alvard. Artur returned to the Republic of Armenia to serve in the national army. We were still living in Russia and had our own business. After my son’s death, we returned to Abovyan. My son’s tombstone is located here.” Greta and Artur’s sister, Alvard had talked to Artur via Skype on 1 April and learned about the heated clashes on television. They found out about Artur’s death upon their return.

As a result of the sudden attack of the enemy at night, they retreated and then courageously counterattacked in an attempt to defend the border by all means and push the adversary back. Artur Gevorgyan has been posthumously awarded with the Order of Courage of the Republic of Armenia and the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.

Karen Nersisyan’s family was living in the Bjni village of Kotayk Province. In 1997, Sergeant Karen was living with his parents Artak and Gaiane and younger brother, Arman. His father, Artak said his son went to serve in the army courageously and with motivation. He wanted to become a serviceman. He was athletically fit. He was in his ninth month of service and had already received the ranking of sergeant. On 1 April, he talked to his family and said that the adversary had become aggressive and that he and the rest of the soldiers would teach it a lesson. Artak was particularly restraint while talking about his son. During the enemy’s sudden attack, 17 heroic boys didn’t show fear and didn’t even take one step back. During the heated and unmatched battles, the crew fought until the last bullet was shot and died as a brave soldier. Karen Nersisyan has been posthumously awarded with the Order of Courage of the Republic of Armenia and the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.

The next family we visited was living in the Artashavan village of Aragatsotn Province. Kyaram Sloyan (born in 1996) was living with his parents Kalash and Nvard and brothers, Hrach, Hamik, Never and sister, Sofi. Kyaram’s mother, Nvard said: “Kyaram had wanted to go and serve in the army since childhood. We would tell him that serving in the army was not like a game that he would play with his friends and that people shoot with real guns in the army, but he would say that he wasn’t aria. He wasn’t afraid of the discipline in the army. We were living at the plateau of a hill, but he would go out with a shirt in the cold winter. He wouldn’t talk much. Whenever we would ask him about military service, he would say that he was in Martakert and would serve there until the end. He didn’t like it when we would call him often.” On 1 April, Kyaram called and said he was fine…His family found out about his tragic death later. He and the crew of the military position fought courageously against the forces of the adversary exceeding them several times. He fought with unique courage and self-dedication. The unprecedented shootings and bombardments didn’t make Private Kyaram Sloyan feel depressed. He fought until he fired his last bullet. Ignoring the call of the commander of the wounded company to leave the positions, Kyaram stayed with the commander, fought with him until the end and died as a courageous hero from the explosion of a projectile released from a tank. When the Azerbaijanis found Kyaram Sloyan’s body, they looked into his pockets, found his documents, understood that he was of Yezidi descent, got angry, executed him brutally, cynically took pictures with his head and spread them on the Internet, showing that they were proud of their brutal act…The International Red Cross and the Defender of Human Rights sent the materials in relation to this and such incidents to the European Court. The investigation is underway. Kyaram Sloyan has been posthumously awarded with the M + 1 Order of the Republic of Armenia and the Order of Great Courage of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. The soldiers of the Homeland are the soldiers of each and every Armenian, and the pain of the mothers who lost their sons is the pain of all Armenians.

Official representative of Tekeyan Cultural Association of the U.S. and Canada in Armenia

Gaiane Muradyan

3 December 2016, Yerevan, Kamaris, Abovyan, Hrazdan, Bjni and Artashavan