THE HAGUE—President Serzh Sarkisian on Monday said he has directed Armenia’s United Nations missions in New York and Geneva to address the importance of “ensuring the security of the Armenians in Kessab and their safe return to their permanent places of residence at the structures dealing with human rights and ethnic minorities,” reported the presidential office.
Sarkisian, who is in the Hague to attend the world Nuclear Security Summit, spoke tor reporters at the World Forum Convention Center, saying that the weekend’s attack of the Armenian-populated city of Kessab by gunmen who infiltrated through the Turkish border, posed serious challenges.
“[The] deportation of Kessab Armenians today is a serious challenge to ethnic minority rights’ protection mechanisms of the 21st century,” said Sarkisian. “I have already instructed the diplomatic missions at the UN Headquarters in New-York and Geneva to raise the issue of ensuring the security of the Armenians in Kessab and their safe return to their permanent places of residence at the structures dealing with human rights and ethnic minorities.”
Telling reporters about Kessab’s bloody history beginning with Turkish armed detachment attacks of Armenians in 1909 and the impact of the 1915 Genocide on the residents of the area, Sarkisian drew attention to the historical parallels to the present-day crisis.
I think that everyone should realize that these parallels should be a sobering reminder to all involved,” said Sarkisian.
Sarkisian thanked the Syrian authorities for the steps being taken to protect the Armenians in Kessab and added the Armenia’s Embassy in Damascus is working on measures to support the Armenian population of Kessab.
Sarkisian also announced that he met with His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia to discuss the Kessab situation.
Beginning on Friday, the Armenian-populated Kessab region of Syria has been under siege after Al-Qaeda affiliated foreign fighters penetrated the Turkish border with Kessab and began a large-scale attack, forcing the population to flee to nearby Latakia. Earlier press reports indicated that the town has been all but emptied.