UN must condemn expulsion of Armenian Christians from Syria and keep Turkey within bounds

Armenians ask Ban Ki-Moon for help

As the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) in Göttingen reported on Thursday, several Armenian associations in Germany and all over the world have sent an urgent appeal to Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, demanding that the UN should condemn the expulsion of Armenian Christians from Syria and keep the Turkish government within bounds in order to protect the refugees. "The small town of Kasab in the Syrian-Turkish border region has recently experienced a catastrophe: Obviously, the Turkish government allowed fighters of the Al-Nusra front to invade the city," says a letter by Azat Ordukhanyan, Chairman of the Armenian-Academic Association „Armenisch-Akademischer Verein 1860 e.V.“, to the UN Secretary-General. "The residents of Kasab and the surrounding villages – especially the Armenian Christians – were forced to flee. The few of them who stayed were taken hostage and tortured."

Kabab, a small predominantly Armenian town near the Syrian-Turkish border was invaded by Syrian Islamists (including fighters of the al-Nusra front, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda which is supported by the Turkish government) on March 21, 2014. Since then, Syrian rebels and government forces have been fighting for control of the border area. So far, the Islamists' attacks have cost about 80 lives. 670 Armenian families were forced to flee to the neighboring cities Basit and Latakia.

At least one-third of the about 130,000 Syrian Armenians have left the war-torn country during the past three years. Now, they live in the Republic of Armenia or have found refuge in other countries.

Meanwhile, the non-Arab and non-Sunni ethnic groups in Syria are getting caught between the frontlines. At least 45 percent of the Syrian population belong to ethnic and religious minorities such as the Kurds, Armenians, Assyrian Aramaeans, Druze and the Yezidis. Initially, many of the minority members had set hopes in the protests against the Syrian regime. "However, they must now fear that they will not be better off in the new Syria," said Kamal Sido, the STP's Middle East consultant. "Today, they are facing a new threat: a totalitarian Islamist ideology that jihadists from all over the world are trying to impose by force – and for which there is some fertile ground within the Syrian opposition."

Dr. Kamal Sido, head of STP's Middle East department, is available for further questions: +49 551 499 06 18 or nahost@gfbv.de.