ISIS Destroys Armenian Genocide Memorial Church in Der Zor

Community members commemorate the Armenian Genocide at the Der Zor memorial church (Photo Ashnag)

DER ZOR, Syria (Armenian Weekly)—The Islamic State for Iraq and Syria–ISIS–forces destroyed the Armenian Genocide Memorial Church in Der Zor, news agencies in the Middle East reported.

The reports surfaced as Armenia was celebrating the 23rd anniversary of its independence on Sept. 21.

Armenia’s Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian issued a statement condemning the destruction of the church, which housed the remains of victims of the Armenian Genocide, calling it a “horrible barbarity.”

Nalbandian called upon the international community to cut the Islamic State’s sources of supply, support, and financing, and eradicate what it referred to as a disease that “threatened civilized mankind.”

The church was built in 1989-1990, and consecrated a year later. A genocide memorial and a museum housing remains of the victims of the genocide was also built in the church compound.

Thousands of Armenians from Syria and neighboring countries gathered at the memorial every year on April 24 to commemorate the genocide.

Many refer to Der Zor as the Auschwitz of the Armenian Genocide.

Hundreds of thousands of Armenians perished in Der Zor and the surrounding desert during the genocide. In summer 1916 alone, more than 200,000 Armenians, mostly women and children, were brutally massacred by Ottoman Turkish gendarmes and bands from the region.

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  1. bayrakiniyakan said:

    When the Armenian diaspora will understand that every Armenian life, dignity and property is protected only in Armenia and by the Armenian army

    • Vaga said:

      There will always be a diaspora. It is part of human nature from the beginning of times, people migrate to new places, looking for new resources looking for new life.
      And where there is a diaspora there is a community and a community needs a church.

  2. Hratch said:

    This was bound to happen when Catholicos Aram I openly announced, during his meeting with Obama last week, that Armenians were part of the coalition against ISIS.

    • Hratch said:

      It’s a combination of both idiocy and reality. We like to live on foreign lands and only fantasies about a utopian Armenia. However, on the other hand, anyone visiting or reading about Armenia and its corruption is sure to stay away. It’s a torn between what the diaspora has indoctrinated in its people for the last century and the realities on the ground in today’s Armenia. All this spending and investing on foreign lands is just an outgrowth of mass pandemonium and indirection of a fragmented people. In fact, building churches in Russia is not going to do any good in the long run. Since the people of Armenia are already indoctrinated into Russian customs and norms, they will be the first assimilate once emigrating and living on Russian soil. We can thank our corrupt oligarchs for creating a condition that is unbearable even to the most patriot Armenia. The law of natural selection always prevails !

  3. Norin said:

    As sad and barbaric as this is, this pivotal incident hopefully will serve as a long standing burning reminder to all the clown like leaders in the Diaspora that investing previous resources on infrastructure in foreign lands will eventually always be in vain. Whether it’s a church, a gymnasium, or a community center, anything built outside of Armenia will either 1) end up usurped by the native population after Armenians find a new place t flock to 2) be left behind after assimilation has taken its toll 3) or be destroyed by the local non Armenian powers for whatever reason they see fit.

    The Armenian pantheon memorial site in Georgia is another example of how our imbecile mentality of building on foreign soil has led to critical cultural infrastructure being destroyed by native barbarians.

    Had those asinine Tbilisi Armenians built our pantheon in our homeland instead of Georgia, it would not be buried underneath a Georgian church now. The same can be said of De Zor, the Syrian desert didn’t need a church built on it, this commemoration belonged in Armenia where it would still be standing and our people could make good use of it for worship.

    It well take another Armenian Genocide it seems for our imbecilic Diaspora to realize the stupidity of its stubborn ways. A bunch eshes we have become, nothing more, nothing less.

    • Hratch said:

      The problem is that Armenia is not very welcoming of its diaspora. These are desperate measures are meant to keep the dream alive for a little longer. Eventually, the earth will consume us and all we have erected whether in or outside of the homeland if this trend is continued.

    • Gurgen said:

      The Armenian church in Singapore stands as an example to what you are saying. When I visited there I realized that no Armenians are actually living there to use the church. It has become a church for the local Asian immigrants to Singapore. I happened to walk into to grounds when they were cleaning it out and found all the old Armenian belongings in the large garbage bin on the balcony outside. Very symbolic and perfect timing as well. The last vestiges of Armenian-ness were being thrown out. The locals are not to blame, there just isn’t an Armenian community there anymore. This was the first Christian church built in Singapore by the once thriving Armenian community there. That image is ingrained in my mind all these years and I often wonder what will become of all these multi-million dollar churches we are building in LA 150 years from now. Maybe Mexican churches, who knows?

  4. Hagop D said:

    Thank you Turkey, for proving to us what you are made of. With this second part of the Kessab invasion Turkey, using its ISIS mercenaries is giving the descendants of its Genocide victims a “gift”. I can only hope that Armenians are smart enough to convince Russia to give Nakhichevan the Crimea treatment in order to return the favor.

  5. Zareh said:

    This was the payoff for releasing the Turkish hostages.
    No Armenian organization including the Diocese of the Eastern US should talk to Erdogan. Dear Khaghag Serpazan, I beg you not to meet Erdogan. He was behind the destruction of the Genocide Memorial.

  6. edward demian said:

    We need to find an Islamic shrine here in the US, California preferably, and have individuals throw stones at it. Everyday. Without end. Just like stoning the devil. No physical injuries to anyone, just littering.The sight of hundreds of people walking by and throwing stones everyday, will surely bring attention to our complaints.

  7. krikor said:

    This church was in an area controlled by IS for a long time so, why did they destroy it now, two days after they released Turkish hostages? Was part of the deal to release the hostages or are they trying to please Turkey?
    This is related to Turkey one way or another. The only Church ISIS destroys is the one with Genocide museum and the one that houses the remains of Genocide victims. The government of Armenia and the Armenian diaspora must raise hell. Everyone is watching if we let this go like all other events it will be an indicator to actors that Armenians will not care about what happens on April 24, 1915

    • Hratch said:

      Most likely because Catholicos Aram I publicly announced, during his meeting with Obama last week, that Armenians were in support of the coalition against ISIS.

      • GeorgeMardig said:

        @Hratch: Everything Armenians do you criticize, if they do they are bad, if they don’t they are bad too, I think you need help to center your thoughts.

  8. zarkim said:

    ISIS exists because of Americans and their allies. ISIS’s stronghold/nest is in Turkey.
    Turkey has recently made a DEAL with the TERRORISTS during their hostage negotiations. Hours after this DEAL strange things happen: 1)) ISIS threatens Russia, Canada, etc.. and 2)) hundreds of thousands of Kurds run towards Turkish borders. Who else ENTERS or EXITS Turkey is the question????
    The Turkish DEAL with ISIS:
    Turkey has promised ISIS a SAFE entry to turkey and exit to any location they like. AND Turkey has promised ISIS a SAFE HAVEN for their STOLEN assets made from OIL, MONEY and property stolen from looting and ransoms, etc..
    This new development is an act to CONFUSE the rest of the world and an attempt to cover-up ISIS’s movements in Syria, Iraq and Turkey areas.
    AMERICA IS CERTAINLY INVOLVED and this is why they are WAITING before their PRETEND attack on ISIS.
    Mr Obama until now APPEARS to have NO BLOOD in his hands. But now, HE IS VERY MUCH INVOLVED.
    If the DEAL is to forgive ISIS and let them go by living a big gate open for them, then, this is the best plan. Only future will show the truth.
    TURKEY, using ISIS, has made plenty of money from these lootings (Syria and Iraq). Turkey is able to look after all these displaced Kurds for at least ten years using this STOLEN money. NO ONE SHOULD HELP TURKEY. THEY have stolen and looted their neighbours for years.
    Russia is happy because Turkey SHARES these stolen assets by spending with them.
    Americans are happy because Turkey lets them into their land and waterways.
    This juggling act by Turkey has been going on for a long time. Bubble is going to burst. When??
    Der Zor memorial church has been destroyed by Turkish thugs. ISIS is Turkey.
    Americans try to blame PUTIN for all bad things that happen. This one is certainly America’s DOING.

  9. Areg said:

    Who is supporting ISIS? Turkey and the western world all NATO allies? wake up Armenians.

  10. Lola Papelian said:

    God Bless the remains of our victims. My Grandmother was there and it was a horrible inhuman place, but luckily for her she escaped…a fascinating story. Isis needs to be obliterated from the face of the earth forever.

  11. vartan said:


  12. bayrakiniyakan said:

    All this happening to divide Turkey and the turkoz know all about this that’s why they doing all the shameful and uncivilized acts to save their ass, also turkey is planning a new genocide against the Kurds in more professional way by cleaning all the traces and the evidence of all the crimes to escape future responsibility / in the future if any one blame them of a Kurdish genocide they will say ….it was a war many died and the Kurds stabbed us from the back /// same game like 1915 is going on …they armed the kurds to genocide the Armenians NOW arming the ISIS to genocide the kurds !!!!! but in the end the ISIS will fight the Turks just like the kurds because Turks never keep their promise

  13. Hrant A. said:

    Who would order the destruction of the Armenian Genocide Memorial Church in Der Zor?
    Has the United States lost all control over Turkey?
    We await official condemnation from the U.S. Government.

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  19. Viken said:

    I would urge people on this forum not to make irresponsible statements, especially against the Muslims, by trying to generalize their behavior and attitude towards the Christians, and particularly the Armenians. Remember that we have been living amongst the Arab Muslim people for so long and that they have welcomed us in the past and still regard us very highly. No one in these Arab states has interest in seeing us perish. The root of this problem is without doubt our dear old enemy states Turkey and Azerbaijan and their acolytes from the Caucasus countries by intermediary of their extremist elements.

  20. Sarkis Jihanian said:

    Two obvious points:

    Erdogan at heart is hatred is Isis.

    It is Sad that so many Armenians are happy to label their brethren in the diaspora idiots. I wish they could dedicate a day or two to doing something for Armenia, instead of labeling other Armenians. Perhaps these geniuses could someday learn than Armenian is not just a country, it is the soul of all Armenians.

  21. mgl said:

    I just can’t understand all Armenians who are still living in Middle East. You escaped from genocide to all these countries when there wasn’t Armenia yet. But now, what are you waiting for? Move to Armenia and Karabakh! Stop crying and asking for help. You’re living on enemies land. Run for life!
    And Diaspora leaders, stop wasting money outside of Armenia. Build Armenia and Karabakh!

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  23. Areg said:

    Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian was in bed with that evil Hillery Clinton signing the Turkish Armenian Protocal . Armenians will bury this piece of trash.No to Hillery, No to Obama.
    Serzh Sarkissian and Edward Nalbandian must be shot in the Armenian Republic square for their high acts of treason in being fooled by the Western world.
    Shame on you Obama for this insult to the Armenian Nation. Obama will go down the history as a mad man and as a criminal. This mad man is in the intent to destroy the Armenian Nation. We Armenians will not let this to happen. Obama and his gang and those who rule America from behind the curtain are murderers equal to the Turks. They are all Genocidal and blood thirsty animals. They are equal to theGenocidal Turk.
    No more Genocide. 1915 never again. No trust in the Western world. No trust in the Western promises.
    ISIS is a Western created terrorist organization in service of Genocidal Turkey. Al Quadia is a Western created terror organization in service of Obama and his gang. Do not believe what the press is saying. The press is here to confuse the public. The press and those behind the curtain who control the press are feeding the wrong information to the public. The press is here to confuse the public. The masses have become a brain dead creatures.
    Obama is a puppet of Pan Turkism. Obama is a Turk. A Genocidal Turk.

  24. Vaga said:

    Terrible news, terrible news.
    Tears and heartfelt thoughts to all the Armenian community around the world.

  25. Shoghig said:

    “Horrible Batberity” is the situation always when Turkey’s involved!!
    Wake up America and the world!

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