On March 21, extremist with ties to Al-Qaeda entered Syria through Turkey attacked and took control of Kessab, a majority Christian village. It is located in Latakia province and home to over 2,000 ethnic Armenians. Homes were looted, churches destroyed and eighty Christians were killed. Thousands more were displaced after the Islamic militants invaded the strategic Syrian town near the Turkish border, according to Barnabas Aid. Many worldwide have spoken out in protest against the attack, which caused the Armenians to flee their homes empty handed.
Not only Armenians, but also residents of other nationalities took shelter in in Latakia.
Armenia is accusing Turkey of supporting extremists. The reports coming in about the event have been conflicting.
Syria launched a counter offensive, to regain control of the region, but tensions increased after the Turkish military shot down a Syrian jet that had strayed over the border during the mission over Kessab.
Turkey has backed and provided the Islamist rebels with supplies and has allowed the rebels to freely cross its borders.
A parliament member said, the Armenians with help from local defence forces and the Syrian Army fled Kessab and are now staying in the area of an Armenian church on the coast of Latakia. Only a few elderly remained in the village that is “occupied by militants from the al-Nusra,” he added.
60 km from the village, some of the residents took refuge in St. George’s Armenian monastery in Latakia, according to the video agency Ruptly.“
Father Maron, a priest from the town told Ruptly.
“40 more people remained in Kessab – mostly the old and immobile – but we managed to gather the majority and most of the families came to Latakia.”
Speaking to RT, Arman Saakyan, Armenian MP from the Republican Party returned from the Syrian town of Latakia. While there, he was able to speak with Kessab refugees. He also claims the militants entered Syria from Turkey.
“In the early hours on Saturday [March 22] Turkish border guards disappeared and terrorists, representatives of different countries, attacked Kessab from there with the support of artillery,” he said.
International law Professor Daoud Khairallah from Georgetown University told RT.
“Ankara has been supporting the jihadi fundamentalists in this war against Syrian regime from the very beginning. It has opened its borders for the fundamentalists coming from all over the world. So to say that now what they did in Kessab is not much different from what it has been doing all along. Now it is very difficult to think that this has happened against Kessab – overwhelmingly majority Armenian – without the knowledge of the Turkish government. It is a border town and it knows that Armenians had been there. And the Armenians had been traumatized by the Turks – there is a long history, probably it was the first genocide in the 20th century, the genocide against the Armenians, as historians say.”
Turkey has a history of helping the armed people coming from all over the world against the Syrian regime and facilitating their entrance into Syria, training them. For Turkey to say we didn’t know or we couldn’t stop it is a little bit ridiculous.
He also said,
“The only authority that can tell whether Mr. Assad or his government is legitimate or not is the Syrian people. The Turkish government has taken a position from the very beginning of events in Syria that is not justifiable in international law, international practice.”
RT also asked, How will the international community react?
I don’t think we can expect much from the international community. The international community has been divided; and the international community has disregarded international law from the very beginning with respect to the Syrian crisis. Some countries have let their borders open. They have helped outsiders come into Syria without any justification internationally.
If the international community would act, it would act through the Security Council. We know where the US stands: it has a veto power. And I doubt that the United Nations, and the Security Council in particular, is acting in conformity with international law and this crisis from the very beginning.
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