Narine Sahakyan, who lost her eldest son on September 19 and was displaced from Artsakh, looks at her younger son with emotion and says that she misses her brother very much. Samvel Sahakyan was killed as a result of the military operations carried out by Azerbaijan. His body was handed over to his parents and buried a month later in Yerevan.

Samvel was a contract soldier.

The mother had a phone conversation with her son for the last time on September 17. “He didn’t come home for a month. He called and said, ‘Mom, we don’t have anything. My socks are over, my shampoo is over, I haven’t bathed, there is no bread to eat’. I said, I will go somewhere, I will give these things to the boy who serves with you, he will bring them to you, I will send them. Someone called again and said, ‘Well, it’s not necessary’.”

The mother remembers the events of the 19th of the month in detail. “When the fight starts, I called, but he didn’t answer. They say that when the fight started, the driver of the Ural car was kidnapped, he was told to get in the car, take us to Malibeilu /Ajapnyak/ to get amunition. The first time they came, they brought the shells, they dumped them, they were gone… then they deceived us. I called the commander, he said: I’m going to check, then I’ll call you. We are waiting, we are waiting, there is no call, nothing… I called and said that the battle was over, but there is no news from my child. He said: I will chaeck and get back to you. He never said anything. Then, in the morning, on the 21st of the month, they called me and asked if I am Samvel’s mother. I said yes. They said Samvel Sahakyan is dead, go to the morgue. We went, they didn’t let us in, they said: go, then we will bring the body to Yerevan…”.

They kept my son for a month. Samvel was given to us on October 17. We took the closed coffin from there to some funeral home, then took it to Yerablur and buried it.”

The family now lives on rent in Masis. Samvel’s sisters help their mother, and the youngest son, 7-year-old Surik, carefully keeps his favorite thing left by his brother – the military binoculars.

Ani Gevorgyan

Ani Gevorgyan is a journalist, photographer, and the winner of the Freedom of Speech Award. She has participated in photo exhibitions at the UN headquarters (New York) and the Geneva office, the Palace of Europe (Strasbourg), Paris, Rome, Berlin, Vienna and elsewhere.

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