From The Armenian Weekly
ALEPPO, Syria (A.W.)—Several servicemen of the Syiran Armed Forces, including Syrian-Armenian Kevork Mgrdichian (b. 1994), were killed during clashes with Da’esh (ISIS/ISIL) militants near Aleppo on March 20. According to the Aleppo-based Armenian news outlet Kantsasar, Da’esh militants attempted to siege the industrial town of Shaykh Najjar, located 10 kilometers northeast of Aleppo, but were pushed back by the Syrian Army.
Last month, The Armenian Relief Society (ARS) Medical Clinic of Aleppo suffered substantial damages after an attack by militant opposition groups, reported Kantsasar. The Feb. 14 attack targeted the mostly Christian-populated districts of Suleymanieh, Nor Kyugh, Telefon Hawaii, and Seyrafi. There were both casualties and wounded in this recent attack.
A day earlier, on Feb. 13, Kamishli-born Syrian-Armenian Viken Vosgerichian (b. 1983) was among those killed in another missile attack. According to reports, Vosgerichian was among the volunteers who stood guard in areas heavily populated by Armenians, in order to ensure their safety. He also participated in the distribution of water to the greater community using special water-transporting vehicles. Several other individuals sustained injuries in the attack and were transported to nearby hospitals, while many buildings—including homes and stores—as well as several vehicles, suffered extensive damages or were destroyed.
The Feb. 13 attack came less than two weeks after Aleppo’s Armenian-populated Nor Kyugh district was attacked by missiles on Feb. 3, according to a report by Perio News. One of the missiles in that attack hit an area between the St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Apostolic Church and the Sahagian Armenian School of Aleppo, while another landed near an Armenian nursing home. According to the Perio News report, some people sustained injuries, but there were no casualties in the attack.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said in a press statement on March 17 that the militant Islamic group Da’esh has and is continuing to commit genocide against Christians, Yazidis, and Shiite Muslims in Syria and Iraq. The U.S. Congress had set a March 17 deadline for Kerry and the State Department to make public their findings about labeling Da’esh’s crimes as genocide. Kerry’s statement marks the first time that the U.S. has used the term “genocide” to describe an ongoing conflict since Darfur in 2004. Kerry also condemned Da’esh’s ongoing destruction of cultural heritage, including Armenian churches and other historical monuments.