Sardarapat Battle

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The Battle of Sardarabad (Armenian: Սարդարապատի ճակատամարտ) was a battle of the Caucasus Campaign of World War I that took place near Sardarabad, Armenia from May 21 to May 24, 1918. Sardarabad was only 40 kilometers west of the city of Yerevan and the battle is currently seen as not only stopping the Turkish advance into the rest of Armenia but also preventing the complete destruction of the Armenian nation.

Just two months after the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was signed, the Ottoman Empire attacked into what had been Russian-Armenian territory. In violation of the Brest-Litovsk Peace Treaty with the Russians, elements of the Fourth Army crossed the border in May 1918 and attacked Alexandropol (modern-day Gyumri). The Ottoman Army intended to crush the Armenia and seize Transcaucasia.

At that time, only a small area of historical Armenian territory which used to be a part of the Russian Empire remained unconquered by the Ottoman Empire, and into that area hundreds of thousands of Armenian refugees had fled after the Armenian Genocide.

The Ottoman Forces began a three-pronged attack in an attempt to conquer Armenia. When Alexandropol fell, the Ottoman Army moved into the Ararat Valley – the heart of Armenia. Armenians under Major General Movses Silikyan defeated the Ottoman troops in a three day battle at Sardarabad as well as Aparan and Karakilisa.

The Catholicos, deeply saddened by the suffering of his people, ordered the bells of the mother church in Etchmiadzin as well as the bells of all Armenian churches around the country to ring all day, calling his people to come to the aid of their fighting soldiers and to participate in the defense of their fatherland. Yeznik Vartabed, himself a good shot, took with him a group of young churchmen and members of the congregation of Etchmiadzin and went to the front to fight the invaders. Bishop Karekin Hovsepian (later Catholicos of Cilicia) rode on horseback among the troops and eloquently encouraged and inspired the troops to fight. The old men and women, and the young girls and boys carried water, food and ammunition to the front by foot, on donkeys and in ox carts.

Colonel Pirumian was commanding the battle superbly, and the Armenians fought methodically and coolly under his command. These united people fought for 48 hours until the enemy was forced to retreat.

After the Battle of Sardarabad, the Armenian representatives negotiated with the Turks in Tiflis and the independence of a little Armenia was proclaimed. Armenia declared its independence effective from 28 May, 1918.

However, The victories here were instrumental in allowing the Armenian National Council in Tiflis to establish the independence of the Democratic Republic of Armenia.

Worried by the Ottoman invasion of Armenia, the Democratic Republic of Georgia to the north asked for, and gained, German protection. The Democratic Republic of Armenia was forced to sign the Treaty of Batum in June 4, 1918, since the Army of Islam held positions seven kilometers from Yerevan and only 10 kilometers from Etchmiadzin. Two days later, after the battle of Sardarabad on May 28, 1918 Armenian National Council in Tiflis proclaimed the independence of the Democratic Republic of Armenia, which existed until the Bolshevik takeover of Armenia in November 1920.


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See also

Sardarapat Van Resistance