More ethnic Armenian citizens of Syria have decided to relocate to Armenia soon, a Yerevan-based charity assisting in their resettlement said on Tuesday.
The Initiatives for Development of Armenia (IDeA) foundation, which was set up by the Russian-Armenian philanthropist Ruben Vardanyan, allocated in October $250,000 to support Syrian Armenians gravely affected by the bloody conflict in the Middle Eastern state.
The funding is aimed, among other things, at helping them settle and find employment in Armenia through three local non-governmental organizations. One of those NGOs called Halep (Aleppo) unites Syrian Armenians living in their ancestral homeland.
In a statement, IDeA said 37 Armenians from Aleppo have already moved to Armenia thanks to its project. Eighteen others have told Halep representatives that they want to follow suit, it said.
Armenia - U.S. actor George Clooney is greeted by Russian-Armenian philanthropist Ruben Vardanyan (R) at Yerevan airport, 22Apr2016.
The announcement follows the capture by Syrian government troops of all districts in Aleppo remaining under rebel control. The city was home to the majority of an estimated 80,000 Armenians who lived in Syria before the civil war.
According to Armenian government estimates, only about 7,000 ethnic Armenians remain Aleppo at present. Virtually all of them live in the city’s western government-controlled districts that were for years shelled by rebel forces.
Up to 20,000 Syrian Armenians are thought to have fled to Armenia in the last five years. Many of them have been struggling to find jobs in a country that has long suffered from high unemployment.
IDeA said that starting from next month another Yerevan-based NGO, Mission Armenia, will use its funding to cover housing expenditures of some of those migrants.
The charity hoped to also obtain funding from other organizations and individuals in Armenia and its worldwide Diaspora when it launched the aid scheme two months ago. It has raised only about $22,000 so far.