Yazidis participation in the military operations of the 1990s
In 1988 Armenians united to claim their justified right to reunify Nagorno Karabakh with Armenia. Initially demonstrations and rallies had peaceful nature, were held without any serious incidents. Moreover, the leaders of the liberation movement strongly believed that the issue would be resolved within the framework of law and civilized methods. But which was more important is that both Azerbaijan and the Soviet regime had quite different notions of the conflict resolution. They were against any peaceful means. In response to the self-determination claims of Nagorno Karabakh population the Azeri authorities organized massacres and ethnic cleansing of the Armenian population. And it was in the peaceful stage of the movement when the Yazidi community assisted and supported their Armenian brothers. A number of Yazidi community representatives were coming from different regions of Armenia to participate in the demonstrations. At that time Yazidis called all their brothers living in different parts of the world to combine their efforts to stand by friendly Armenian nation and to rebuff the assaults of a common treacherous enemy. They felt some kind of commitment to defend the land for which their ancestors had fought for centuries and given their lives. And it was natural that the heroic episodes of the collaboration between Sheikh Mirza and Priest Paul, Sheikh Isayei, Usev begi and Komitas, Jahangir Agha and Andranik came to become a source of inspiration for the liberation movement.
After consulting Armenian state authorities and after getting Vazgen Sargsyan’s approval the members of Yazidi community founded their military headquarters in the YSU Oriental Studies Department Building. During this period demonstrations took place in Yezidi populated regions of Armenia, in which the participants showed their willingness to take part in the Nagorno Karabakh War. In 1992, when the war escalated, Yazidis decided to take part in the military operations separately, but the Defense Minister refused to meet their demand clarifying his decision in this way: “If even a Yazidi soldier is captured or killed in the war, it will be interpreted differently not only in Azerbaijan, but also in the whole world.”
But the situation in the battlefield, especially in Artsvashen was worsening more and more. And it was decided to send Yezidi squads to Surike Tafour, who had been struggling against the enemy forces at that section. But the order to withdraw forces from Artsvashen was given. During the withdrawal of the forces, Jrashentsi Gagik died, who later was buried in Erablour. And as for Surike Tafour’s squad, it moved to participate in the battles for the defense of Tavoush. Another brigade was struggling in the territory of Noyemberyan. In this squad Alo and Qyaram Tamoyans, Omar Avdalyan and Sahid Tamoyan distinguished themselves as courageous warriors and soldiers. Sahid Tamoyan, son of Aziz Tamoyan became a victim of a blind and unalterable fate. In the above-mentioned territories the squad conducted a number of successful battles, but during the tragedic battle one of the most prominent Yezidi soldiers Myshire Xudo was seriously wounded.
During this period difficult situation had been formed near the village Yeraskh, which bordered Nakhichevan. The leader of Ararat region was Davit Zadayan, who showed great willingness to cooperate with Yazidi squads and soldiers.
The Yazidi heroes of the Artsakh War
The situation in the battleground was getting even strained and the number of Yazidi volunteers and soldiers, who were being killed or going missing, was increasing. That is why it would be unfair not two represent them individually, because they deserve it, and they are not only Yazidi nation’s heroes, but also they have left their heroic trace in the Armenian history. During the Nagorno Karabakh war the Yazidi warriors participated in the defense and liberation battles for Yeraskh, Voskepar, Khndzoresk, Bardzuni, Askaran, Shoushi, Axdam and Lachin .
Overall more than 500 Yazidis took part in the Nagorno Karabakh War, 30 of them died. Three of them, Hamayil Sharoyan, Temour Zeydinyan and Gagik Hajoyan are buried in Erablour.
During the April four-day war Yazidis went to frontline, as they did in the Nagorno Karabakh war of the 90s. Qyaram Sloyan, Boris Ozmanyan and Hamlet Hajoyan heroically died during the war.
Translated by Aida Grigoryan , Mijerita Khachatryan and Anna Arzumanyan