Syrian government troops have regained control of the main Armenian-populated districts in Syria’s largest city of Aleppo, a senior Armenian government official said late on Tuesday.
A diplomatic source in Yerevan monitoring developments in Syria claimed earlier in the day that Syrian rebels seized those districts late on Monday after weeks of heavy fighting with forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
According to Armenia’s Diaspora Minister Hranush Hakobian, the government forces recaptured them by Tuesday evening. Hakobian also said that the fighting in Aleppo has inflicted no serious material damage on the Armenian neighborhoods mostly located in the city center.
“With their positive neutrality, [the Syrian Armenians] are managing to maintain calm and stability within the community and are not taking sides and creating unnecessary tension,” she told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “There has been no devastation and panic at the Armenian districts. People simply avoid going out.”
Hakobian spoke at Yerevan’s Zvartnots airport where she greeted a group of about 150 ethnic Armenian schoolchildren from Aleppo who arrived in Armenia to spend their summer holidays at a local resort. They joined about 250 other Syrian Armenian teenagers who were flown from Aleppo and Damascus last week. Their summer camp is financed by the Armenian government and private sponsors.
The minister also insisted that the plight of Syria’s 80,000-strong Armenian community remains “bearable” despite the continuing violence in the country. She said there is therefore still no need to evacuate Syrian Armenians en masse.