PACE Members Condemn Violence in Kessab

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe


STRASBOURG (ArmRadio)—The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) adopted a written declaration on Tuesday, introduced by members of the Armenian delegation, condemning the violence against the Armenian town of Kessab, Syria, which resulted in the displacement of thousands of people and the destruction of property.

Delegates from fifteen countries signed the declaration, which calls on Turkey to prevent the use of its territory by extremist militants and to investigate claims that the attack on Kessab was abetted by Turkey. The full text of the document is below:

“The undersigned members of the Parliamentary Assembly express their grave concern over the recent escalation of the situation in North-Western Syria, around the ancient town of Kesab [sic] predominantly populated by Armenians. The late attacks were carried out by Al-Qaeda affiliated terrorist groups across the border from the territory of Turkey. The brutal actions, which targeted largely the civilian population, resulted in forced displacement of local population.

“The extremist groups have desecrated Kessab’s Armenian churches and caused significant damage to property of inhabitants. This is a continuing humanitarian crisis. Bearing in mind and urgent need for the protection of ethnic and religious minorities, including Armenians in conditions of armed conflict in Syria, we strongly condemn and considers unacceptable such use of force against civilian population, regardless of their ethnic and religious identity.

“We strongly urge the Turkish authorities to take immediate measures to prevent further use of its territory by extremist groups and to investigate reports on Turkish assistance to terrorist groups.

“The international community should undertake resolute efforts to ensure the safety and security of refugees, including the Armenians, facilitate conditions for their early, safe and dignified return to their places of residence and provide indispensable humanitarian assistance to address their urgent needs.”

Signatories included delegates from Armenia, Spain, the UK, the Netherlands, Moldova, San Marino, France, Ireland, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Russia, Finland, Greece, and Germany.

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