Sinanian works to create safest conditions for Armenians in Syria amid Turkish offensive
YEREVAN, OCTOBER 10, ARMENPRESS. The ethnic Armenian population of Syria’s Tell Abyad has left the town and is moving towards Aleppo, Armenia’s High Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs Zareh Sinanian told ARMENPRESS.
Mr. Sinanian, are you in contact with the Armenian community of Syria and our diplomatic representatives regarding the Turkish military offensive in the Syrian territory? What updates do you have?
- Yes, I am in contact with both our community and our diplomatic representatives, and I am also cooperating with our agencies who are involved in these works. I have updates that the ethnic Armenian residents of the town of Tell Abyad have left and are moving towards Aleppo. Our compatriots of Qamishli are still in their settlement. Let me note that unlike Qamishli, where only bombardments are taking place, ground operations are already taking place around Tell Abyad.
Do you have information on how many Armenians are living in the areas where Turkey is conducting military operations? Do you have contact with these families? Are there already Armenian families who have left these areas?
- 16 Armenian families from Tell Abyad are approaching Aleppo at this moment. We will contact them individually as soon as they reach Aleppo. There are around 430 Armenian families in Qamishli, with whom we maintain contact through our diplomatic representatives.
Taking into account that the Armenian community previously faced humanitarian issues due to military operations in Syria, what programs is the Office of the High Commissioner of Diaspora Affairs planning at this stage relating other possible developments?
- The Office of the High Commission of Diaspora Affairs is cooperating and will cooperate with other [governmental] agencies in order to create the safest conditions for our compatriots and most importantly in order not to have human losses.
Turkey launched a military offensive in northern Syria on October 9.
The Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs released the following statement today, condemning the Turkish invasion: “Armenia condemns the military invasion by Turkey in north-east Syria, which would lead to deterioration of regional security, losses among civilians, mass displacement and eventually to a new humanitarian crisis. The plight of ethnic and religious minorities is of particular concern.
This military invasion also creates an imminent threat of identity based grave and massive violations of human rights.
Armenia calls for effective international measures aimed at halting this military invasion, preventing mass atrocities and protecting the population of Syria bordering Turkey.
Armenia supports the unity and sovereignty of Syria and urges to refrain from military offensive against Syria and its people. Armenia will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to the friendly people of Syria on the ground”.
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan reiterated the stance at a Cabinet meeting, calling the Turkish invasion “illegal”.
Edited and translated by Stepan Kocharyan