Remembering the 98th anniversary (24/04/2013) of the Armenian Genocide by the Ottoman Turks. This post provides a glimpse into the lives of Syria's ethnic Armenian community today.
Above: A haunting image from the 1915 Armenian Genocide, the caption reads: “Crucified Armenian women in the region of Der-es-Zor (Modern day Syria). Some women were saved–as here in the picture–by Arab Bedouins who took them back down from the cross.”
Today the Armenian Genocide Memorial Church in Der-es-Zor is in ruin as are all the churches in Der-er-Zor, a city under rebel control.
Western-Backed Wahhabi Terrorists Wipe Out Christian Church in Deir Ezzor, Syria
Short video news report on the distruction of the Latin (Roman Catholic) Church in Der es Zor. View here.
Article from the Vatican’s Pontifical Missions news service, Fides
The fate of the two priests Michel Kayyal (Armenian Catholic) and Maher Mahfouz (Greek Orthodox) kidnapped by a group of armed rebels on Saturday, February 9 on the road that leads from Aleppo to Damascus remains unknown. Read here.
Short video news report from the Wall Street Journal.
More than six thousand Christian Armenians from Syria have poured into Armenia in recent months, escaping the conflict in the land of their birth. The report by Joe Parkinson can be viewed here
Syrian Fall of the Arab Spring", a half hour documentary by Arman Saghatelyan, the deputy head of PanArmenian Media Group, who recently visited Aleppo in Syria to present to a wider audience the real picture of the latest developments there, presented with English subtitles:
This mini-documentary in Armenian, with English subtitles, shows how the ongoing war in Syria's northern city of Aleppo affected the city's children from the Armenian-Syrian community. Having to cope with the sound of loud explosions, falling shells, injuries, and the sight of dead people, the ugliness of war left children traumatized and robbed them of their childhood.
Armenian-Syrian elderly man kidnapped by Islamist FSA is forced to convert to Islam. Short video clip with English subtitles. View here.
Demonstration on Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day, Southern California. Arab Americans for Syria join the Armenian community to tell Turkey: 'Get your Hands off our Land.' View here
Syria - Free Syrian Army petrol bombed St. Gevorg’s Armenian Church and library in Aleppo leaving the building destroyed. View here.
The attack took place about 30km from Aleppo and left several dead and many injured. Among the dead and injured were 18 Armenians including Tamar Siruyan a mother of two who was killed.
Note: Attacks by rebels on civilian busses are a common occurrence.
Article from the Vatican’s Pontifical Missions news service, Fides.
Aleppo (Agenzia Fides) - The conquest of the district of Cheikh Maksoud by the anti-Assad militia which took place in recent days could mark the fate of Aleppo, the metropolis battered for months by a bloody civil war. "That neighborhood" confirms to Fides Agency Father David Fernandez, a missionary of the Institute of the Incarnate Word - is located on a hill overlooking Aleppo and is a strategic point for those who want to conquer the central area of the city, where there are also government buildings. I am told that already many downtown streets have been closed and noboby can pass through these streets, because from the buildings snipers shoot at everything that moves."
In Cheikh Maksoud, Christians once represented the majority. In recent years the Kurdish population had become dominant, but many Christian families were still gathered around the Armenian Catholic and the Greek-Orthodox Church.
Father David confirms to Fides that in the past days more than three hundred Christian families have fled the area captured by the rebels. "At least 120 Christians" says the priest, "have found refuge in the house of the Marist Brothers." Among the fugitives, news about murders and rapes of women perpetrated against families who were linked to the army government circulate. "Even I have heard of this," says Father David, "but the information we receive is a lot and sometimes contradictory, and for the moment there is no way of verifying it."
Yesterday, through the social network youtube the fatwa issued by Yasir al-Ajlawni was released - A Jordanian Salafi sheikh - resident in Damascus – who declares lawful for opponents of the regime of Bashar al-Assad rape committed against "any Syrian woman not Sunni." According to the disturbing sheikh, capturing and raping Alawi or Christian women is not contrary to the precepts of Islam. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 05/04/2013).
On Thursday, April 11, 2013 a special mass was offered for the families displaced from Sheikh Maksoud, they were forced to flee their homes when the district was overrun by armed rebels. After the Liturgy several associations distributed material, medical and food aid to these families.
See also: Mariam