KESSAB, Syria—About a dozen Armenian families returned to Kessab Monday to assess the damage to residential areas and plan their return to this mostly-Armenian populated town, which was besieged by attacks in late March by Al Qaeda-linked militants who entered from Turkey forcing the evacuation of the population.
The priest of the Armenian Catholic Church in Kessab, Rev. Nareg Luisian told Armenpress that Armenian families were returning to assess the damage to their houses, as the town continues to face serious infrastructural issues such as lack of water, electricity, telephone communications and other essentials to resume daily life.
The Armenian community has appealed to the Syrian authorities urging them to restore those services and ensure safe passage of Armenians, who have sought refuge in nearby Latakia, Lebanon and other areas in the vicinity.
Luisian pointed out that the kitchens in homes have seen the most damage as they were indiscriminately used by the insurgents who had invaded people’s homes.
Luisian added that all community centers, schools, churches have either been burned or have sustained significant damages as a result of the militant attacks on the town. Luisian also detailed the damage to the St. Michael Armenian Catholic Church, highlighting that the church altar has been destroyed and its cross stolen.
“Kessab will flourish again,” said Luisian adding that the Armenians of Kessab will, once again, bring life to this ancestral city and last vestige of Western Armenia.
Sources in and around Kessab indicated on Sunday that the rebel and al Qaeda-affiliated militants, who seized the town in March through the Turkish border, had withdrawn from Kessab.
The Aleppo-based Gandzasar newspaper is reporting that Syrian army forces have advance onto the city square and now control more than two-thirds of the strategic town.
Troops loyal to President Bashar Assad’s regime sent tanks to nearby villages, signaling an imminent army advance on the border town.
Activists confirmed the account, adding that the rebel fighters withdrew to rebel strongholds in the Jabal al-Akrad area.