Since the 1850s foreign missionaries used Christianity as a pretext and entered the region of Azerbaijan in order to orchestrate Christianity. Despite their activities being with philanthropic intentions at first, it was clearly revealed in wartime how philanthropic they were! During the First World War the Armenian and Nestorian inhabitants of the Ottoman Empire committed treason by going to war with their own state. Losing war, they took refuge with the Russian army then present in southern Azerbaijan. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians and Nestorians took refuge in Urmia and Salmas. Naturally, providing these warlike highlanders with shelter and food and drink was not so easy in wartime. According to that time’s historians and remaining people, the people of Azerbaijan were never frugal in providing them with any kind of help and shared their bread with them on rough days. Having been adherents of Russia, the US and the UK, i.e. the Allies, Azerbaijani Christians now became dominant in Azerbaijan. Christians plundered the villages, caravans and bazaars every day. In the aftermath of the 1917 Russian Revolution, Russians wanted to vacate Azerbaijan, having withdrawn from the war. The withdrawal of the Russian army from Azerbaijan meant the entry of the Ottomans into the region. For this reason, the Americans and English thought of setting up the Christian army. Their weapons, too, were going to be provided by the Russian army, and their police and officers by the English, French and Russians. In January 1918 the Russian army and the Christians ransacked and burnt the bazaars of the cities of Urmia, Salmas and Khoy. The Allies equipped the Christians in 4 regiments composing of 4 artillery battalions, 300 horsemen and a battalion of machine guns (a gun that fires 100 bullets per minute). The commander-in-chief of this army was colonel Kozmin of Russian origin. The expenses of the army, too, were paid 20,000 francs by the French and a sufficient amount by the English. Some person named Mr. Shedd, one of the missionaries residing in Urmia at that time, suggested that the people of Urmia should be in this organization too, but Urmians declined the offer. Christians had occupied all northern regions of Urmia prior to the civil war. In February 1918 Christians established a police force in Urmia in order to control the people. Every day pillage and murders were committed on the streets and markets of Urmia by the Christians (the local people called them Jilo since a number of them had come from around the Ottoman Jilo mountains). The first signal of the Muslims massacre started with murdering virtually 50 Urmians on 20th February 1918. Although the police rescued the murderer Jilos, Ijlal ol-Mulk, the governor of Urmia, sent out a note to all foreign countries’ consuls and real ruling powers of Urmia. But the note did not work, and from 22nd February the three-day massacre of the people of Urmia by the Christians started. Gunshots and booms of cannons were heard everywhere. Fire and smoke were seen from all sides. Shrieks and groans of children and women came from everywhere. The Jilos had mercy on nobody. At least 20 thousand people of Urmia were slaughtered in this three-day massacre. In Fabruary 25 the disarmament of the Mulims began. Within 48 hours they divested all the Muslims of their arms. The arms were given to the Jilos. Accordingly, the west of Azerbaijan came into the Jilos’ possession. After the occupation of Urmia the Christians decided to seize the city of Salmas in the north of Urmia. Mar Shimun, the leader of the Jilos, went to Salmas. There, he decided to meet the Kurdish headman, Simiko, by order of the English. He got an appointment at Kohneshahar in the vicinity of Salmas on 16th March. In this meeting Mar Shimun requested cavalrymen from Simiko in order to capture the whole Azerbaijan. Simiko gave an affirmative answer too. But shortly after the agreement, on 16th March 1918 Simiko’s partisans murdered Mar Shimun together with his attendants. Having heared about these events, the Jilos razed Salmas, Urmia and Kohneshahar to the ground and murderd the remaining Muslims within a few days. The Muslims embarked on the 21st March festivities of Noruz, facing massacres. The Jilos besieged the castle of Qahramanlu near Urmia on 1 April 1918 and murdered all its people. On 3 April 1918 they seized Salmas once more and slaughtered a large number of the residents. Hundreds of Azerbaijani people were murdered every day. On the 2nd of June the governor general of Urmia, Azim ol-Saltane, was murdered. On 28 June 1918, the castle of Askarabad was besieged and all its residents were killed. On 21 June, the Armenian committee member Andranik besieged the city of Khoy. His intention of besieging the city of Khoy was to join the Jilos and English in the south. But he did not succeed and was defeated. They fled to Yerevan suffering hundreds of casualties.
With the Ottomams dispatching troops to Azerbaijan, the Jilos gradually left Salmas for Urmia. The English had a big role in this withdrawal. They had ordered the Jilos to move to the barracks of English forces in the south. Finally Azerbaijan was rescued from the Jilos. Since the moment the Ottomans had entered Urmia and Salmas they were welcomed by the people with open arms.
Domination of the Armenians and Nestorians in the west of Azerbaijan took six months. During these six months at least 150,000 Azerbaijanis were massacred, fields were despoiled, villages were ravaged. And the impressions of this horrific massacre remained indelible for years.