Armenian Homes in Kessab Looted, Occupied


Smoke rises from the town center in Kessab after days of attacks by extremist militants crossing over from Turkey


Two thousand Kessab Armenians find safety in Latakia; International and Local organizations providing support

LATAKIA, Syria—A delegation of priests from the Catholicosate of Cilicia who had visited Latakia to assess the needs of Kessab Armenians and express solidarity returned to Antelias after the Sunday Badarak, the Armenian Weekly reports.

According to the delegation, the local Armenian community, the International Red Cross, and the Red Crescent are providing assistance to those who have sought refuge in the city. An estimated 2,000 Kessab Armenians are currently in Latakia.

“Many Armenian families are staying with relatives and friends, while others have sought refuge in the Armenian Church and the church’s hall,” said Syrian Armenian community activist Nerses Sarkissian during a phone interview with Weekly editor Khatchig Mouradian.

“The Aleppo Armenian Prelacy as well as the Red Crescent are providing relief and assistance to these families in Latakia,” Sarkissian added.

Armenian residences occupied, looted
The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) reported on a number of eye-witness accounts of looting and occupation of Armenian homes, stores, and churches left behind in Kessab.

Kessab Armenians who phoned their neighbors’ and relatives’ homes from Latakia discovered that their houses are already occupied by new residents, namely rebel fighters.

Two men, Minas Soghomonian and Joseph Kilaghbian, who called their own homes were greeted by militants who said, “We are enjoying your food.”

Ani Boymushakian called the Armenian Evangelical Church office. Intruders told her, “Now we are in control of this place, we just got here and we will do with it as we please.” She hung up as the fighters continued making threats.

Another displaced Kessab resident, Paren Hovsepian, called and was told by the intruders, in Turkish, that he had nice furniture.

Other witnesses have reported abductions and looting.

Dikranoohi Manjikian, an elderly, ill woman, who due to her medical conditions and inability to move was one of the very few not evacuated, said gunmen forcefully entered her apartment and harassed her verbally and physically, demanding gold and other valuables. After pleading with them that she had no such valuables, the gunmen searched the apartment and took whatever they were able to and left. She gave her account through a phone call.

Steve Shekhookian was on his motorcycle fleeing the area of fighting near Duzaghaj (Al-Shajara) in Kessab when he was stopped by gunmen and forced off of his motorcycle. He said the gunman who stopped him was bearded and didn’t speak Arabic. When he asked to be let free and told them that he is Armenian, the gunman brandished a large knife and threatened to slit his throat. Shekhookian was then handcuffed to a metal frame on the window of a nearby building. Meanwhile as the fighting intensified, the gunmen fled or hid and left him behind. He was able to break his handcuffs and fled the area into nearby bushes and made his way back off-road to safer areas where others were being evacuated.

Militants entered from Turkey
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.

35 Responses

for “Armenian Homes in Kessab Looted, Occupied”

  1. Zareh says:

    The Armenian American Bar Association should sue Turkey in The Hague for assisting and abetting a criminal gang of hooligans, for allowing safe passage for the purpose of intimidation, spreading fear, for creating an atmosphere of lawlessness, for deportation, for destruction of property, for looting, for taking hostage peaceful families. The Armenian American Bar Association has an army of western educated and trained lawyers specializing in International Law.
    The lawsuit should be filed immediately.
    Meanwhile every effort should be made to providing humane living conditions to the deportees. I can’t believe I am writing the word deportation 100 years after the Genocide, perpetrated by the same animals.
    Ainjar Armenians should be prepared not to flee but to defend and fight. No French ships are coming this time.

    • ANTRANIG says:

      LAWSUITS DON’T WORK… IT IS ALL POLITICS & PRIORITIES FOR EACH COUNTRY.
      JUNGLE RULES APPLY.
      I think it is time for us (after 99 years) to starting arming ourselves & training to the best we can.
      Not just in Armenia… All Armenians around the world, forming small groups of 30 to 50 young Armenians who train together and build highly trained and armed small groups. (without leaving their universities or work)
      In events like this, many groups could be sent from every part of the world to fight / protect the Armenian.
      If we don’t do it, no one will do it…

    • ANTRANIG says:

      LAWSUITS DON’T WORK… IT IS ALL POLITICS & PRIORITIES FOR EACH COUNTRY.

      JUNGLE RULES APPLY.

      AFTER 99 YEARS, TIME TO START TRAINING AND BUYING ARMS AND HAVING ARMENIAN MILITARY GROUPS ALL OVER THE WORLD.

  2. Hratch says:

    It’s not clear whether any Armenians were injured in the attack?

    It’s not clear whether we were specifically targeted or just in the way as the two forces fought?

    It would be a great Assad propaganda if it’s portrayed as an attack on the Armenians because of their Christian beliefs, but is this true?

    I would hate to have the Armenians being used as tools to advance one side or the other. If we were attacked solely on our religious beliefs, then yes the world should come to our aide. However, if we were in the way of the fighting and were not the intended target, then we should be careful who we choose to side with and start relocation plans towards the motherland.

    • A. Kardashian says:

      Even if we give these terrorists the benefit of doubt and assume that they had no specific agenda for the Armenians, the way they are treating innocent civilians and their properties and most importantly our churches should be enough for us to take a stand against them. When they remove all crosses from our churches, post photos of their “heroic” actions and write comments and messages saying “all you Armenians hear this… We are coming to crush your heads because you are Christians”, and all this is done with the blessings and support of Turkey, what more do we need to realise that it is the same blood hungry enemy who a 100 years ago murdered our grandparents and great grandparents because they chose not to convert to Islam and not to deny their Armenian heritage.

  3. GB says:

    The continuation of Armenian genocide can be seen in Syria, when Ottoman Turks released their Jihadist criminals against unarmed Armenian population!

    • Hratch says:

      Facts first please. We don’t want to look immature if it is proven otherwise. Remember the “Misha” conspiracy theory.

      • ANTRANIG says:

        Hratch? Where do you live? Do you watch news at all? it’s all over the news and videos all over youtube… You want to go see it personally maybe

  4. ARARAT says:

    dirty muts they are .. Filth of the world ..

  5. Arto says:

    Syrian-Armenians. There is no future in Syria. Go to Armenia. Your homeland awaits you

    • Hratch says:

      Well said Arto. They’re so much in love with Syria and Assad that some are trying to get other Armenians to come and join the fight…..GO FIGHT FOR YOUR MOTHERLAND IF YOU CAN!

      • ANTRANIG says:

        Hratch, you are a typical Armenian. Always running away from trouble, being so peaceful and always in fear. Never taking steps towards facing problems, fighting the enemy, preparing for the future.
        After 99 years, we, Armenians still do not want to be the wolf. (or we just never learn)

    • A. Kardashian says:

      You may say this to Armenians living in other parts of Syria but Not to Armenians living in Kessab. Kessab is their homeland. Kessab is Armenia. Kessab has been a part of the Armenian Kingdom of Cillicia and Armenians have been living there since 140 BC.

      http://youtu.be/asByARQZ-b0

  6. Jazmin says:

    nothing good can come from a turk

    • Hratch says:

      How do you know they were Turks? Get the facts first before accusing anyone. We’ll look sill in the international community if our accusations are false….just like the “Misha” conspiracy theory.

      • ANTRANIG says:

        EVEN IF they were not turks, STILL Jazmin said it well: nothing good can come from a turk.

        If Turkey was not helping/training/arming/supporting the extremist groups, Syria would not have been in a War.

  7. Alex Postallian says:

    If they looted,killed UNARMED women,children,old people:they are turks,not rebels…Remember,jerky turks,are the biggest LIARS…..

  8. Vindicated Man says:

    Military assistance in some form is needed there.

    Options:

    1. UN troops
    2. Bring the RA soldiers from Afghanistan to Armenian-populated areas in Syria
    3. Since Turks are unable/unwilling to neutralize the terrorists in their territory, isn’t it, then, NATO’s job (fight against terrorism in the world, etc.) to go to Turkey and deal with this?

    • Kevork says:

      What are you talking about? TURKS are every bit behind this and they are TERRORISTS! Countless Turks and Azeris have been killed by the Syrian army. NATO is not a fighter of terrorism, it is the source of it!

  9. hagop meldonian says:

    Al-Qaeda were terrorists when 9/11 happened now their role shifted but not their acts

  10. HyeAghcheg says:

    Like it or not, all Armenians need to move out of that region, because it is not safe. I realize it’s their “home”, but they need to relocate to non-muslim nations, where they can live, free of threats.

  11. Ara says:

    INSTEAD OF BLAMING TURKS IT IS BETTER TO LEARN LESSONS FROM HISTORY AND DO WHATEVER NEEDED TO PROTECT OUR LANDS. THERE ARE LANDS IN NAGORNO_KARABAKH THAT STILL NEED TO BE OCUPPIED SO WE DO NOT LOOSE THEM AGAING. WHY NOT HAVE SOME INFORMATION SESIIONS FOR THESE ARMENIAN PEOPLE SO THEY CAN CHOOSE TO SETTLE OVER THERE? ARMENIA ONLY SHOULD BE STRONGER AND HAPPIER.

  12. [...] come under heavy gunfire from rebel groups linked to al-Qaeda. Armed men entered the town, looted Armenian shops and homes, taking families hostage, and desecrating the town’s three churches. [...]

  13. Glendale says:

    “Come on bro”

  14. Budrig says:

    Lets just look at the basic facts. Turkey is allowing an invasion of another country from its soil. It seems reasonable to hold Turkey accountable for allowing this. This would be the same as Mexicans invading Mexico from the boarder of USA.

    US backs Turkey. Hence NATO backs Turkey. As long as Armenians live in an Arab country we are at risk. This is a street fight. How do you back a bully down, you take it to a level 10. Which means, Armenia need to defend Armenians in Syria and we as Armenians need to support Armenia. No matter were we live. We as Armenians should have zero trust towards the TURKS no excuse.

  15. ANTRANIG says:

    I think it is time for us (after 99 years) to starting arming ourselves & training to the best we can.
    Not just in Armenia… All Armenians around the world, forming small groups of 30 to 50 young Armenians who train together and build highly trained and armed small groups. (without leaving their universities or work)

    In events like this, many groups could be sent from every part of the world to fight / protect the Armenian.
    If we don’t do it, no one will do it…

  16. [...]  “Two men, Minas Soghomonian and Joseph Kilaghbian, who called their own homes were greeted by militants who said, ‘We are enjoying your food’…. Another displaced Kassab resident, Paren Hovsepian … was told by the intruders, in Turkish, that he had nice furniture.” [...]

  17. [...] Minderheiten vertrieben. Nun mussten die Bewohner der Stadt selbst in die Hafenstadt Latakia fliehen. Grund dafür war die salafistische Al-Nusra-Front, die die bis dahin fast ausschließlich [...]

  18. [...] recently come under heavy gunfire from rebel groups linked to al-Qaeda. Armed men entered the town, looted Armenian shops and homes, taking families hostage, and desecrating the town’s three [...]

  19. [...] come under heavy gunfire from rebel groups linked to al-Qaeda. Armed men entered the town, looted Armenian shops and homes, taking families hostage, and desecrating the town’s three [...]

  20. [...] Kessab Armenians find safety in Latakia; International and Local organizations providing support LATAKIA, Syria—A delegation of priests from the Catholicosate of Cilicia who had visited Latakia to assess the [...]

  21. [...] Armenian Homes in Kessab Looted, Occupied Share this:EmailDiggLinkedInTwitterFacebookGoogleLike this:Like Loading… [...]

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