One and a half years after the 44-day war in 2020, the circumstances of the death of thousands of servicemen are unknown. Amid this uncertainty, the soldiers’ parents are trying to gather information about the circumstances in which their sons died. forrights.am referred to the circumstances of Arnold Hovsepyan’s death on March 3. His father told us that his son had taken part in the fighting on a hill called Anonymous in Jebrail, that the commander had abandoned him and his fellow soldiers, and that they had remained in blockade and killed.
After our publication, Benik Antonyan, the father of Karen Anotnyan, who died in the 44-day war, contacted forrights.am and mentioned that his son too had been at the Anonymous Hill.
“At the Anonymous Hill, there were 9 people, the lieutenant, two sergeants, six servicemen, one of whom was my son. Lieutenant took the two sergeants and locked them up without leaving any communication devices to the soldiers. And, before leaving, he mocked them, saying, ‘Guys, can you imagine me going, something happening to you and me not seeing you,’ and he went down,” says Benik Antonyan, noting that there was a command to retreat from that section, but, since there were no means of communication, they did not get the command and stayed on the hill, then found themselves in a blockade and were killed.
The parents of the boys who fought at the Anonymous Hill say that on the morning of October 3, the Turkish special forces managed to penetrate the hill, having advantage, inflicted fatal gunshots wounds on the Armenian soldiers. This information was passed to the parents of the servicemen by one of the surviving boys at Anonymous, who was taken prisoner and then repatriated to Armenia.
Benik Antonyan notes that the soldier who returned from captivity is constrained. He is intimidated by the sergeants who allegedly fled with the lieutenant.
“The sergeants who escaped with the lieutenant went to the hospital and threatened the boy who had returned from captivity. They said, ‘The boys are already dead; why are you writing about the lieutenant?’ We still have the unanswered question about them taking the radio communication device with them. If the children had it, they would have retreated,” says the father.
Benik Antonyan and the parents of the other boys who died at the Anonymous were recently upset by the fact that the Defense Ministry’s TV program “Zinuzh” had prepared a reportage about the lieutenant, presenting him as a hero and broadcasting it on the First Channel.
“Today that lieutenant is working, today that lieutenant is being filmed by the Armed Forces, they want to make him a hero. In reality, it is our children that are heroes: they did not run away when their ammunition was over, they went and took the weapons of the Turks to fight again. All this was told to us by the soldier who returned from captivity, who was with them. We went on H1 channel, to the Ministry of Defense and forced them to take off the reportage on the lieutenant,” he says.
Karen Antonyan was a conscript from Charentsavan. The father says that he served in Gyumri for half a year, then received the rank of junior sergeant and was moved to Artsakh. A few days before the war, he was promoted to the rank of sergeant, but before he could receive the new rank, the war broke out. “My son did not get the rank of sergeant, but the papers they gave us mentioned him as a sergeant,” said the father.
The family spoke to Karen for the first and last time since the war on September 29. There was no contact after that. Karen died on October 3. His death through DNA testing was confirmed on March 8, 2021.
P.S. In the near future, we will present the views of the relatives of the servicemen killed at Anonymous Hill and the surviving servicemen.