“I demand my child, will you give hime?” I gave my son, give him back, be responsible, give him back! He was the light of my house. We became orphans, this house has been left abandoned.” Parents who lost their only son spend most of their day in Narek’s room. On the walls are Narek’s photos, military clothes, things, the national flag of Armenia and a note “Glory and honor to you Armenian soldier. Narek Sahakyan”.

“I was supposed to take in the fall, but everything got wrong,” the father says, showing his son’s carefully preserved winter shoes and clothes, saying that his son never had the opportunity to live in his room in the new house, which was built according to Narek’s preferences.

Narek Sahakyan was killed on September 13, 2022, during the military operations that started at midnight. He fought against the enemy in the positions of Sotk until the dawn of the 13th. When only he and one other soldier remained from the 10-man squad in the positions, Narek resorted to ingenuity during the battle:

“From the beginning of the fight, everyone was killed, he was left with one other boy. They fought until 4-5 o’clock. They ran from one trench to the other so that the enemy would think there were people [in all of them]. In the end, a UAV…” says his father, Hovhannes Sahakyan.

According to the parents, Narek and his fellow soldiers, 8 contract and 2 conscript servicemen, were in the position without a commander. No aid reached them in the front line from the rear. Havhannes Sahakyan says that when he inquired in Vardenis why the rear was not strong, according to him, the military people told him “the air was not closed”.

A video of how Narek runs from one part of the position to another and tries to stop the advance of the opponent has become available to the parents from social networks. And just a few hours before those brutal battles, Narek called all the family members and talked to all of them.

“On that hapless day, he called at 10:30, we talked a lot in the evening, he asked questions from his childhood, he missed his father, he remembered occurances when he was a child. We talked for 40 minutes, it dawned and we learned that there was a war. He knew that they were going to be attacked, but he didn’t tell us,” said his mother, Zhanna Sahakyan.

The family says he had a great desire to talk. Cousin Khachik, who grew up in the same house with Narek, said: “He was talking longingly, he didn’t want to hang up: that call was different from his other phone calls. … He was my only brother. When my Narek was born, I was so happy: I was the only child in the family… but the joy was short-lived.”

This was the last conversation between the family members and Narek: since the midnight of September 13, they have not been able to talk to him anymore. The sisters called their brother in the middle of the night, but he was unavailable. Narek’s phone number became available on September 18, the parents sent Viber messages, but it was answered by the enemy. “The phone was already in the hands of the Turks [means Azeris]. When we wrote, “Nar, where are you?”, they wrote curse words,” said the parents.

The parents did not have any information about their son until September 21, when the Azweri side handed over 95 bodies. The father went to Vardenis, they called all possible numbers, but in vain. In a difficult state of mind for the parents, the commander told them that their son was found and alive; however, he said the opposite the next day. The parents experienced double pain.

“There was even a happy news: Sahakyan Narek is alive, but it turned out that Sahakyan Narek’s father’s name was not Hovhannes, but Ashot [fathers’ names are written in Armenia’s IDs, in only Armenian-language part]. We were fooled, we were happy, we were blindsided, we we had a feast, we were happy… Their own commander called and spoke to me personally. I said, “Is it really my son?” He said, “Yes, they are not cheating.” They reached the halfway point, they called and said that the father’s name was Ashot, not Hovhannes,” said the mother.

The father eventually found his son at the Goris morgue. He was recognized by the cross tattooed on his hand. Narek Sahakyan was buried in his birthplace, Spandaryan village of Shirak district.

Narek Sahakyan turned 19 on the Republic Day, May 28, 2022. The mother says that they gave her son to the army, but the state did not protect him. The parents are distressed by the state’s attitude towards the soldiers.

“What is the state doing to this people? Aren’t they sorry for mothers and parents? 19-year-old young children… Who saw the 19-year-old child being burned? The Turk is setting fire there with UAVs, an Armenian is setting fire here, what kind of country has this become? Do they know how we raised these children? We give our children well and sound, they return to us burnt: the parents do not get to see the faces of their children,” said the mother.

The parents want to get answers to many questions; however, no representative of the government visited neither the other victims, nor the Sahakyans. Just representatives from the military unit came for the funeral and for the fortieth day and left without explanation.

“He came on vacation on August 21, before that, he was in positions for 55 days. By what right did they have to leave him in the position for 55 days? There is a law that they replace them after 14 days, right? After staying at home for 5 days, he went and was sent to the position again.”

The mother says that during her son’s 1.5-year service period, they sent all the supplies themselves: socks, underwear, only the food was of good quality, but the state did not provide with other necessary supplies. “He wanted three heaters, for three positions. He said, “Mom, get some heaters; we won’t survive the winter, these heaters are in terrible condition, I tried to fix them but there is no way of fixing them.” Then he asked also for a flag, he said, this is like an abandoned post and there is no flag here,” said the mother.

The father draws attention to the fact that the enemy’s actions were not properly assessed before the start of hostilities. The warnings by the soldiers standing in their positions that there was a movement by the enemy remained unanswered. “Two days ago, he told them that there was movement, something was being moved at night, the commanders said, ‘There is nothing, don’t be afraid’,” said the father.

The whole village is talking and proud of Narek Sahakyan’s valor and patriotism.


Narek Kirakosyan

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