YEREVAN, March 24. / ARKA /. The Armenian embassy in Syria is developing a plan of swift actions to help protect the ethnic Armenian population of the town of Kessab in Syria, Armenian president Serzh Sargsyan said in The Hague.
For several days Turkish troops shelled the Armenian villages in violation of international laws and obligations openning the way for the rebels associated with Al-Qaeda’s al-Nusra Front, Sham al-Islam and Ansar al-Sham, who according to reports crossed the Turkish border and attacked the Armenian civilian population of the area in the early hours of March 21.
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.
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.
Sargsyan’s press office said the president expressed his deep concern over the events around Kessab and spoke about previous attacks by Turkish troops on Kessab in 1909 and 1915. He said the current third attempt of Turkish authorities to make Armenians leave the area is a serious challenge to 21st century’s mechanisms to protect national minorities.
“I think that everyone should realize that the parallels that come to one’s mind should be sobering to all the sides," he said.
President Sargsyan thanked the Syrian government for its steps taken in this difficult time to protect the Armenians of Kessab.
"I have already instructed the diplomatic missions of the Republic of Armenia to the UN in New York and Geneva offices to ask corresponding international agencies dealing with human rights and minority issues to address the issue of security of Armenians in Kessab and guarantee their safe return to their homes ," said Sargsyan .
The president also discussed this issue with the Catholicos of Cilicia Aram I. Armenian president is in the Netherlands to attend a Nuclear Security Summit.
Kessab is located on Syrian-Turkish border. It has thousands of Armenian population, who run their community and party offices, schools and hospitals. -0 -