– Dear boy, be careful.

– Yes, mom, I am careful. Be assured; the war will end and I will come home.

Hovsep Galstyan’s last conversation with his mother took place on September 29.


My son did not whine. He has been standing next to me as a man of the house since he was 13 years old, he has done whatever work he could, wherever he has been: he has picked grapes and pomegranates at his place where he was killed. I wonder how he could be shot there.

Hovsep served in Martakert. He was a sniper, he had completed his service excellently and had many letters of gratitude.

On September 27

We were relocated to Kashatagh in 1997, we lived in Vardabats. On the day the war started, we were in the village, Hovsep was working in Shushi. On September 27, he called and said, “I am sending the children home, I am going.” And he left without coming home. Even if he came home, he still would go․ Jrakan was very close to our house. We could see from our house how they were shooting, I said to my neighbor, “How will our children b e saved from this fire that falls on their heads?”

The last time I talked to him was on September 29. Within 5-6 days, he managed to enter the Turkish [means Azeri] positions, put on their uniforms and hit the commander of the terrorists. Since September 28, he was in front of the eyes of the Turks; they would harm him, because he had a video in which he showed their commander’s body armor.

We were sitting at home on October 2 when my daughter said, “Mom, look what came to us from Joseph.” My son was shot; they photographed hima and sent to us…

After getting the picture, I called our headquarters, told them about the picture, they said, “It’s photoshopped, don’t believe it.” Then they checked and saw that it was not photoshopped. I called back, I was deceived twice, the third time they said, “Ma’am, I’m sorry, it’s hard for me to tell youyou, but your Joseph is no more.” After killing him, they took the body, his comrades-in-arms could not remove the for during 3 days.

He was found in Jrakan on February 25. We did a DNA test and found only 4 bones from my son.

We, the family

After Hovsep, I called my brother and said to come and take us, we didn’t need to stay there anymore. And we came to Norashen. My relatives helped me, I had nothing from the state, only the head of the community helped me.

We left everything: the animals, house, everything. We left the house just with the clothes we had on.  We did not imagine that it would be so long. We lived there during the Four-Day War; we were used to shootings.”

The family of Hovsep Galstyan, who was awarded the First-Degree Combat Cross, now lives in the village of Norashen, in a dilapidated house provided by a neighbor. There are children and minors in the family. Leaving everything in Kashatagh, the large family now does not receive any support from the state. The mother, Anahit Avetisyan, has health problems. “We live here, let’s see what happens,” says Hovsep’s mother.

Ani Torosyan

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