As a result of the military operations that took place in Artsakh on September 19, Hranush Israelyan’s family lost four men: their son, two sons-in-law and her husband’s brother. They are Artak Israyelyan, Andrey Israyelyan, Valery Gasparyan, and Gennady Grigoryan.

Artak was 36 years old, taught history at school, lived with his big family in the Sarushen village of Askeran region of NK.

Mrs. Hranush remembers the simple and calm character of her deceased son and talks about the conversations she had with him.

“When he came home from school, he was very tired. He had many classes. I used to say, Artak, what kind of history do we have that you teach children so much? He said, my dear mother, the history of Armenia has always been like this, this has always been the fate of Armenians… Now I have no home, no place, no son… his father was killed in the war. Exactly thirty years later, my Artak died…”.

On September 19, Artak was also at school; he went to his position as soon as the alarm sounded.

“On that day, when there was an alarm, everyone, students and teachers, left the school. I did not see Artak; I was not at home. When I returned, he was not at home. I called, he said, ‘I’m in position, don’t call.’ They [the Azeris] were shooting at the village all day. The people went to the village center to see what was happening. The village head sent someone who told us: climb to the top of the village, wait there until I come and tell you what to do. Then they told us to go up through the woods. We somehow climbed up, stayed in the forest until late night. Then they came and told us to go down to the village. Our folks gathered there, people of the militia. Later. I asked about Artak. They said Artak was injured and was transferred to Stepanakert. When I heard that, a little hope arose in me that it would be okay. Then at night we were transferred to Stepanakert. There, we looked for him…hospitals, hospitals… Later it turned out that my brother-in-law tried to take my wounded son to the hospital in his car, the Turks shot them dead on the way,” says the mother who lost her son.

Hranush Israyelyan remembers how she searched for her son for days. “Then they took us to the basements, then to the airport… I asked about Artak but no one had seen him. Then they said that a car had crashed on the road. It was already clear that it was my brother-in-law’s car… Then they said that the Russians found my son and took him to Martuni, from there to Stepanakert and then to Armenia.”

While leaving Artsakh for Armenia, the women of the family found out that the men were killed, but they tried to be calm so that they could take the children to a safe place. Mrs. Hranush called her acquaintances in Oshakan village, who helped them to find a house in the village.

Ani Gevorgyan

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