Khanasor Expedition

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Khanasor Expedition
Khanasor fidai.jpg
Date July 25 to July 27, 1897
Location Plain of Khanasor
Van Vilayet, Ottoman Empire

Armenian victory

  • Mazrik tribe's influence on the region nullified
Armenian Revolutionary Federation
assisted by Hunchaks and Armenakans
Mazrik tribe of Khanasor
Commanders and leaders
Sargis Mehrabyan
Nikol Duman
Nikoghayos Mikaelian
Sharaf Beg
250 fedayees The entire tribe
Casualties and losses
26, incl. Garo (Stepan Zorian's brother), Khan and Arisdages Zorian Most of the men of the tribe

The Khanasor Expedition (Armenian: Խանասորի արշավանքը) was an offensive of Armenian fedayees against the Kurdish Mazrik tribe on July 25, 1897. In 1896, in the aftermath of the Defense of Van, the Mazrik tribe had ambushed and slaughtered many of the Armenian defenders of Van as they were retreating into Persia. The Armenian Revolutionary Federation decided to retaliate for that atrocity, resulting in the Khanasor Expedition.


About a year after the events of the Ottoman Bank takeover, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation decided to retaliate and "punish" the Kurdish Mazrik tribe for its role in the Hamidian massacres and its ambush on the defenders of Van. The Mazrik tribe were camped in the fields of Khanasor, near Avarayr. The ARF, with the support of the Hunchakians and the Armenakans, organized an attack on the tribe. The operation was the brainchild of Nikol Duman alongside "Khanasora" Vartan Mehrpanian and Ishkhan Arghoutian, all of whom participated as commanders of the operation. Among the Armenian soldiers also there were disagreements. For their settlement the party sent in Tavriz Harutiun Shahrigian and as a result they come to conclusion of holding an action. On 25 July 1897, at dawn, 250 Armenian fedayees attacked the Mazrik tribe, killing all the men and sparing only the women and children. The Mazrik chief, Sharaf Beg, managed to escape by wearing women's clothing. The attack ended on 27 July 1897.


Although ARF founder Rosdom's brother Garo[disambiguation needed] and 25 other fedayees were among the casualties, the Khanasor expedition was a small triumph for the Armenians, both militarily and morally. As a result, Armenians built up their self-confidence; their belief in their ability to defend themselves was now reinforced. To this day, the ARF remembers the event in commemorative ceremonies honouring the expedition as an important event in the history of the Armenian struggle for freedom.


  • Mihran Kurdoghlian, Badmoutioun Hayots, C. hador [Armenian History, volume III], Athens, Greece, 1996, pg. 45-46.

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