Aleppo Under Fire As Fighting Continues

The Forty Martyrs Church in Aleppo in ruins. (Photo: iNews)

The Forty Martyrs Church in Aleppo in ruins. (Photo: iNews)

ALEPPO—Rocket raids and armed clashes continue in Syria’s economic capital Aleppo, targeting residential districts, the local Armenian newspaper Kantsasar reports in a Facebook post.

Security concerns have added to the Aleppo-Armenians’ socio-economic plight.

Inflation, unemployment and the national currency’s depreciation is a major challenge especially to big families.

Despite the difficulties, the local Armenian societies continue their work to keep the community united and safe.

The Church of Forty Martyrs, a 15th-century monastery located in the city’s Judayda district, was all but destroyed in a recent attack.

The Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of the Eastern U.S. confirmed the destruction of the church to the Armenian Weekly last week.

The Forty Martyrs Church dates back to the 15th century. The first mention of the church appeared in the second edition of the book “The Exploit of the Holy Bible” by Father Melikseth in 1476. The bell tower was built in 1912. The Church housed khatchkars, relics, and icons, including “The Last Judgment,” a painting that dates back to 1703.

The Church was at the center of Armenian community life in Aleppo, where for centuries religious and cultural initiatives took place.

The destruction of the Forty Martyrs Church comes about four months after terrorists bombed the Armenian Catholic Cathedral Our Lady of Pity (also known as St. Rita), located next to the Armenian Catholic Archeparchy of Aleppo, leaving the church partly destroyed. In September 2014, terrorists destroyed the Armenian Genocide Memorial Church in Der Zor, Syria—considered the Auschwitz of the Armenian Genocide.

Before the start of the Syrian crisis in the spring of 2011, between 60,000-70,000 Armenians called Syria home, constituting less than 0.5 percent of the country’s total population. More than half of them lived in Aleppo, with the other half scattered in such cities as Latakia, Homs, Qamishli, Hasakeh, Yaqubiye, Raqqa, Kessab, and the capital Damascus.


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