The Second Sassoun rebellion of 1904 (Armenian:Սասունի երկրորդ ապստամբութիւնը) was the rebellion of the militia in the Sassoun region.
The Turks who were previously defeated in the First Zeitoun rebellion didn't want the formation of another semi-autonomous Armenian region in the "Eastern" vilayets. In Sassoun, Armenian activists were working to arm the folk and to recruit young men by motivating them to the Armenian cause.
Preparation of revolt
Sasun, already exposed to massacre in 1894
and then organized of Resistance, was one of the centers guerrilla activity Armenian fedayee
. Simultaneously, attacks the Turk and kurds on local Armenian villages did not stop. Many Armenians have been compelled to accept an islam or Orthodoxy (in the latter case they used protection of Russian consulate) for rescue of a life. In the spring 1902
in Sasun has been sent the representative of Armenian Revolutionary Federation Vahan Manvelyan
with the purpose to stop the insignificant skirmishes, only irritating the Turk, and to occupy in concentration of forces for the big revolt. By heads of revolt have been nominated Vahan and local native Hrayr Tjokhk
. This concentration proceeded during all 1902
. So, in May, 1903 in Sasun there has arrived fighting group of Gorgos
"Marrik". Vahan and Hrayr have considered it insufficient and have addressed to East bureau of a party with the request to send new forces; In September the group from 150 fedayee led by Khan and Onik has been sent. However at transition of Persian-Turkish border it has been surrounded by Turkish armies with artillery and almost is completely destroyed. Taken place in February, 1903 in Sofia III congress ARF has decided to transmit in order Sasun of committee a lot of fighting groups.
By this time, approaches to Sasun have been blocked by a division of 4-th corps of army (8 battalions, subsequently this number is has reached 14 battalions; in total up to 10.000 soldier and policemen, and also 6-7 thousand irregilar kurdish horse). From the Armenian party was nearby 200 guerilla under command Vahan, Hrayr and Andranik
, along with Kevork Chavoush
, Murad of Sebastia
and others. Except for them the peasants of 21 villages also armed should take participate in resistance, but not skilled in military science — defenders of Sasun totaled all up to 1000 persons. Andranik suggested to lift general revolt in Armenia that would force to disperse the Turk forces; Hrayr from its part objected, that the Armenian revolt which has been not supported by other people of Ottoman empire, it will be doomed, and suggested to concentrate on defense of Sasun.
The First actions
The first fighting action has undertaken Kevork Chavoush against local kurdish aha Kor Slo, for prevention of an attack of kurds on five Armenian villages was among territory occupied by kurds. By means of groups of Murad Sebastatsi and Seyto on January 17
he has attacked kurds who together with Turkish armies have receded in Pasur. After that Kevork, in view of impossibility of protection of these villages, ordered to move to inhabitants in Ishkhanadzor villages has ruined. At news about this, from its part, Seyto has attacked the kurdish leader Salikh known for the cruelty concerning Armenians, has taken in a captivity and has with own hand shot, then also has receded in Ishkhanadzor.
Simultaneously Armenians (Western bureau of ARF
and the Catholicos
) tried to organize diplomatic pressure of powers upon Turkey. The Catholicos has addressed to great powers. English and French ambassadors in Constantinople have undertaken demarches before the sultan (the Russian ambassador has refused to participate in protection of Armenians). The sultan has answered, that in Sasun armies for protection of the population against robberies and violence will be sent. Then ambassadors have suggested the sultan to begin negotiations with risen so that they have peacefully left Sasun, having caused to represent itself as intermediaries. However the Russian consul has delayed a trip and when ambassadors have arrived on a place, military actions were already in a heat.
The Beginning of Resistance
By March 20
Turks have finished preparation for approach to the risen area. Armies had been plundered a number of boundary villages. Villages, according to order Hrayr, did not resist. Local residents have flung in prison and have subjected to tortures, but to find out something about forces risen and could not. The command at Armenians was distribute as follows: defense of area Aliank and Shenik headed Hrayr, Andranik being in village Tapyk, should interfere with promotion of the enemy on Gelieguzan, Kevork Chavoush protected Ishkhanadzor; Murad of Senastia, Akop Kotoian and Makar Spagantsi — the area Chaji Glukh.
On April 2
Turks have undertaken the first storm at support of mountain artillery. Storm has been beaten off. On April 10
to area has arrived bring vali of Bitlis with the significant military forces, accompanied Armenian bishops of Bitlis and Mush. On April 11
the second storm has been undertaken. About 7 thousand Turkish horsemen have rushed into village Shenik, but Armenians were closed at them in rear, and Turks have appeared clamped between the Armenian positions in front and on the right and заснеженными mountains at the left. After four-hour fight Turks have abandoned horses and the weapon and ran in the mountains pursued by Armenians. On April 12
to Armenians the prior of monastery Surb Arakelots, Arakel, with the decree (kondak) the Catholicos has been sent, to recommending Armenians to surrender in exchange for Sultanian amnesty. Heads of revolt have declared, that will answer tomorrow, and have taken advantage of a delay that to move the population of some neighboring villages in Gelieguzan this night and to burn villages. From its part, Turks also did not perceive negotiations seriously and at a dawn on April 13
, not waiting the answer of Armenians, have begun new approach.
Attack on April 13
Defenders were broke on two groups: one, under direction of Sepukh and Murad of Sebastia, has moved in direction Brlik, another, under direction of Hrayr, has risen in mountains. Turks, in amount 8 company and 4000 kurdish horsemen, have rushed in Gelieguzan; Hrayr has been killed in the beginning of battle. The fierce hand-to-hand fight has begun; during the moment when business of Armenians seemed already lost, from east side of village has appeared with group Andranik and has struck in flank and rear to Turks. Turks ran, having lost, under newspaper messages, up to 136 person killed; Armenians had 7 killed and 8 wounded men.
Defeat of revolt
On April 14
Turks, having received a reinforcement, have undertaken the new attack which however has been quickly beaten off by Armenians. On April 16
inhabitants of Ishkhanadzor have receded in Talvorik; Turks have tried to cut off their course, but owing to persistent resistance and the help of group from Talvorik Ishkhanadzorers it was possible to break. On April 17
the new attack which also has been beaten off has been undertaken. On April 20
Turks have surrounded Gelieduzan and having subjected to its massed artillery bombardment. Seeing impossibility to keep further, fedayee led by Andranik at night also have receded in Talvorik. Inhabitants (up to 20 thousand — the population of five evacuated villages) ran a part in mountains, a part on plain Mush, having undergone to ruthless slaughter. Talvorik resisted till May 6
and has fallen, when to Turks send reinforcements. 200 fedayee between Таlvorik and Gelieguzan have held on till May 14
and have managed to leave, having guided the bridge. The victory the Turk was accompanied by a mass slaughter:
«Women have been stolen, to them cut off a breast, ripped up stomaches, children to impale, old men splitted up for parts. Young girls withdrew in uncountable set. (…) since May, 5th, Turkish armies have wiped out one behind another villages in areas Berdakh, Mkragom, Alikrpo, Avazakhiubr, Arnist»
All it has been killed by different estimations from 3 up to 8 thousand person and 45 villages are destroyed. To hide traces of slaughter from the European consuls, bring vali of Bitlis has ordered to cut corpses on pieces and to throw them in р. Tiger.
Attempt of de-armenization of Sasun
The sultan has declared, that forbids returning Armenians in Sasun. However it has caused the sharp protest of representatives of powers, and the sultan has been compelled(forced) to concede: under supervision and protection of consuls 6000 inhabitants have returned to native places.
- Kurdoghlian, Mihran (1996). Hayots Badmoutioun, Volume III. Athens, Greece: Hradaragoutioun Azkayin Ousoumnagan Khorhourti.
- Эдуард Оганесян. Век борьбы. Москва-Мюнхен, т.1., 1991, стр. 221—231.