Dozens of young people in Yerevan on Wednesday marched towards the United Nations office in the Armenian capital to draw the attention of international bodies to the plight of Syrian Armenians.
They, in particular, raised concerns over the fate of the mostly Armenian-populated town of Kesab in northwestern Syria that was seized by Islamic militants in recent days, which led to the evacuation of hundreds of ethnic Armenian families.
Activists in Yerevan stressed Turkey’s role in the aggression against Kesab as al-Qaeda-affiliated extremist groups had penetrated into Syria from Turkish territory.
“The process is essentially a continuation of the genocide. Turkey has set the task of clearing its whole border from Armenians. With our unity we want to show to the Syrian Armenians that the Armenian nation is not indifferent to their issue and that we support them,” member of the initiative group Armen Mkhitarian told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service (Azatutyun.am).
The action participants handed a corresponding letter to the UN office after reading it out.
Hranush Aloyan, another activist, said: “First, we call for maintaining international peace and security and for that purpose for initiating consolidated effective measures to prevent and eliminate threats to peace as well as other acts of aggression that disturb peace. And the United Nations, by its silence, in fact, supports Turkey’s illegal activities. We call for the condemnation of Turkey’s illegal acts.”
Earlier this week Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian also raised the issue of Kesab on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague. He expressed Armenia’s “deep concern” over the situation around the Syrian town, describing it as “a serious challenge to 21st-century mechanisms of protecting ethnic minorities.”
Sarkisian said he had instructed Armenian diplomats at the United Nations to press officials to take action to ensure the safety of the Armenians from Kesab.
Meanwhile, a six-member Armenian parliamentary delegation left for Syria on Tuesday to address the situation surrounding Kesab on the spot. They are expected to inform their colleagues in Yerevan on the situation there upon returning home.