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‘Shots were heard in our home; the Turks had already entered the city’: Artsakh forced exodus #35

December 13 2023, 12:26

After being forcibly displaced from Artsakh, Lilia Danielyan and her husband are still unemployed. They are both looking for a job but have not succeeded in their search. In Artsakh, Lilia and her husband worked in the justice system.

Before finding her job, the resident of Stepanakert decided to prepare natural dried fruits, make pastry and bake jingyalov hats.

“I brought a dryer with me from Artsakh. One day my children wanted dried persimmons, and I prepared dried fruits from several types. Since I don’t have a job, I decided to prepare dried fruits and sell them. I make them without sugar. They turn out very tasty, and I receive good reviews from customers. I also bake jingyalov hats and pastries and sell them to stores,” Lilia tells Alpha News.

Lilia, her husband, and three children rent an apartment in Yerevan. Molly, their husky dog, without whom they could not leave Artsakh, also lives with them.

In a conversation with us, Lilia talks in detail about the one-day war unleashed by Azerbaijan against Artsakh and the chaos that arose as a result.

“After the fighting stopped, my husband went to work and then came back and said we had five days to pack our things. That same day, I told my son to start packing, and I decided to bake some bread. But soon I heard the sounds of shots, went out into the yard, and heard screams. People were running and saying to leave the house because the Azerbaijanis had already reached the cemetery, where fighting with our servicemen began. Wearing slippers, my son and I quickly ran out of the house and drove to a safe place in the big car of our neighbors from Martakert. We were crying because we didn’t take any documents with us, and our dog wasn’t with us either.
A few hours later, the situation calmed down a little, and my husband and I went to our home, packed the necessary things, and arrived at the place of my husband’s friend. We stayed there for one day and already started looking for gasoline to leave the city,” says Lilia.

It was on that day, September 25, that a blast hit a gas station near Haykazov, after which Lilia’s husband’s cousin went missing.

“That day it was pouring rain; there was a strong thunderstorm. I heard a loud sound that was more like the sound of an explosion, but my husband thought that I was still recovering from the war. Soon after this, he received a call and was told that there had been an explosion at the gas station. My husband went to pick up his cousin, who had gone there to gas up. They searched for him for a long time but never found him; for identification, we need to conduct a DNA examination,” says Lilia.

Lilia’s family left Artsakh on September 27 out of panic and uncertainty, despite the offer of integration with Azerbaijan.

“We heard from the very beginning that only a few thousand people would be allowed to leave. Panic spread among people. Our neighbors had already left, and we even thought that the Turks might stop them and not allow them to cross the border. Already on the evening of September 26, we saw that the Azerbaijanis had reached our Dashushen cross; that is, they had already entered the city. On the morning of September 27, we set off, and the hellish route began. People were driving thirsty and hungry. The situation was terrible. There were people who could not stand it and died in their cars. There was even a case when an old lady died on the way, and in this state, people continued their ride. Experiencing difficulties, we reached the Hakari Bridge, where the Azerbaijanis were looking into the car and then into their phones, as if they were looking for someone. They stopped our car, checked the trunk, and at that moment the dog growled, the Azerbaijani tilted his head back in fear and allowed us to go. And that’s how our hellish route continued,” Lilia recalls.