Time in Yerevan: 11:07,   15 April 2024

Other families likely to join two Kessab Armenian families settled in Armenia

Other families likely to join two Kessab Armenian families settled in Armenia

YEREVAN, APRIL 11, ARMENPRESS. In the result of Kessab events two Kessab Armenian families have settled in Armenia. Their problems are in the focus of “Coordination Center for Syrian-Armenians’ Issues” NGO. It is likely that today several more Kessab Armenian families will arrive in Armenia. The Head of Staff of the Ministry of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia Firdus Zakaryan stated this in an interview with Armenpress. “The Ministry of Diaspora of Armenia continues its work with the Syrian-Armenians, taking into consideration their opinions and needs. On these days we are ready to work with our compatriots arriving in Armenia from Kessab. Today it is probable that a number of Kessab Armenian families will arrive in Armenia on Beirut-Yerevan flight. We will go to the airport and offer them our help,” Firdus Zakaryan underscored.

The armed incursion began on Friday, March 21, with rebels associated with Al-Qaeda’s al-Nusra Front, Sham al-Islam and Ansar al-Sham crossing the Turkish border and attacking the Armenian civilian population of Kessab. The attackers immediately seized two guard posts overlooking Kessab, including a strategic hill known as Observatory 45 and later took over the border crossing point with Turkey. Snipers targeted the civilian population and launched mortar attacks on the town and the surrounding villages.

According to eyewitness accounts, the attackers crossed the Turkish border with Syria openly passing through Turkish military barracks. According to Turkish media reports, the attackers carried their injured back to Turkey for treatment in the town of Yayladagi.

Some 670 Armenian families, the majority of the population of Kessab, were evacuated by the local Armenian community leadership to safer areas in neighboring Basit and Latakia. Ten to fifteen families with relations too elderly to move were either unable to leave or chose to stay in their homes.

On Saturday, March 22, Syrian troops launched a counteroffensive in an attempt to regain the border crossing point, eye-witnesses and state media reported. However, on Sunday, March 23, the extremist groups once again entered the town of Kessab, took the remaining Armenian families hostage, desecrated the town’s three Armenian churches, pillaging local residences and occupying the town and surrounding villages.

Located in the northwestern corner of Syria, near the border with Turkey, Kessab had, until very recently, evaded major battles in the Syrian conflict. The local Armenian population had increased in recent years with the city serving as safe-haven for those fleeing from the war-torn cities of Yacubiye, Rakka and Aleppo.


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