“I felt that something worse had happened to my son”

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Derenik Khachatryan was a conscript soldier during the 2016 Four-Day War, a tanker, and a member of the Peacekeeping Brigade during the 2020 war. He was killed in Karvachar, on the very first day of the 44-Day War.

Derenik was a childhood friend of Kyaram Sloyan, who died in the Four-Day War. The boys grew up in the village of Artashavan, Aragatsotn region, then both of them were drafted into the army. Minutes before what happened to Kyaram, the close friends had said goodbye to each other and Kyaram had went to the position.

According to Derenik’s mother, Susanna, even after years passed, her son could not come to terms with the loss of his friend; he was always with him mentally and often visited his grave. One day he decided and told his mother that he should become a soldier and serve in the Peacekeeping Brigade. ” ‘I don’t have a normal job’, he said, ‘I’d better go to the Peacekeeping Forces’. I said, boy, it’s a tough job, you better choose something else…But, you know… And he began the service. He used to go to different countries and stay for months.”

On September 20, 2020, Derenik had just returned home from Afghanistan. “We didn’t see him normally for a week. He was left at home to remain in quarantine under the supervision of doctors. There was a call of alarm. He got up and left. The war had not yet begun. He was taken to Ararat posts. When he called and he said about it, I was surprised, I said, dear son, you have just returned, how are they sending you to the positions? I was waiting for him to come home after fifteen days, but he didn’t. My younger son was also in the military, he was also taken away. One was taken to Kubatlu, the other to Karvachar,” says the mother.

Ms. Susanna says her son was killed as a result of an anti-aircraft missile strike. “The director of the school in our village told me. They told the village head; the village head told the director and said that he couldn’t tell me. The director first said that my son was wounded in the arm, but I didn’t believe it… I felt that something worse had happened to my son.”

According to the mother of the fallen soldier, almost two years after the incident, it is impossible to believe that all this is true. “Life is very difficult for me without him, I cannoy do without him. I have one daughter and one son, thanks to them I rest a little, but the loss is very big. Until now, I feel like he will come, he will leave somewhere and come here. I don’t believe that he is not here.”

Ani Gevorgyan