Kneeling beside Tigran Petrosyan’s physique draped within the flag of Nagorno-Karabakh, his mom pressed her cheek to his face one final time.
“My son, how are you… my son, how are you,” she repeated, her voice shaking and her eyes crammed with tears.
Petrosyan was a 26-year-old police officer in Stepanakert, the principle metropolis on this disputed area, earlier than becoming a member of Armenian separatist forces battling with Azerbaijan for management of the mountainous province.
He was killed on Thursday in a drone strike on his automobile as he headed to combat within the Hadrut space on the south of the frontline.
Associates, household and comrades — some in police or army uniforms — gathered for his funeral on Saturday in part of the Stepanakert cemetery reserved for battle useless.
They stood quietly, their faces down and their eyes pink, the silence damaged solely by his mom’s sobs.
A number of of the boys smoked cigarettes within the vibrant sunshine. There have been no kids — most households fled Stepanakert when town got here underneath heavy shelling after new combating over Karabakh erupted on September 27.
The area broke from Baku’s management in a Nineties battle that left greater than 30,000 useless. Azerbaijan and Armenia, which backs the separatists, have since been locked in a bitter battle.
The 2 international locations agreed to a brand new ceasefire from midnight on Sunday however either side rapidly accused the opposite of violating the truce.
Within the cemetery within the centre of Stepanakert, backhoes have been digging up areas to bury the newly useless alongside the graves of troopers killed within the first battle over Karabakh.
Twenty-five new graves have been dug for these killed within the new clashes, with easy flat stone crosses laid over mounds of dry earth or, for the poorest households, stones laid within the form of a cross.
One other soldier was rapidly laid to relaxation. His father, in a worn white parka, kneeled for a couple of minutes earlier than the grave, his physique shaking with sobs. The soldier’s two brothers squatted behind their father.
At Petrosian’s grave, giant wreaths of synthetic pink, yellow and white flowers stood on tripods. Sporting a black cassock and with a crucifix in hand, priest Mesrop Khunoyan recited a prayer.
“We pray that every one of this may come to an finish quickly, however we additionally pray that the wrath of God won’t be late in coming and that the evil that unleashed all of this can be severely punished,” he mentioned.
The household pulled Petrosyan’s mom away from his still-open coffin, and at last lowered it into the bottom, arranging dozens of pink carnations across the grave.
At one other freshly dug grave not distant, one other mom lay practically susceptible on the grave of her son, weeping whereas repeating his identify. Her daughter knelt earlier than her, additionally in tears.
The households left separately and the silence ultimately returned, apart from the uninteresting thud of explosions within the distance on the frontline.