Monuments commemorating victims of the 1915 Armenian Genocide have so far remained mostly unaffected by continuing hostilities in Syria, according to a local Armenian Church representative.
Jirair Reisian, a spokesman for the Syrian diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church, told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service on Monday that early media reports claiming that the complex in Deir ez-Zor immortalizing the memory of hundreds of thousands of Armenians killed during the Ottoman-era death marches through a Syrian desert, had collapsed under bomb shelling and explosions were inaccurate.
At the same time, he acknowledged some minor damage caused to the Holy Martyrs Memorial Complex and a nearby chapel in the town some 450 kilometers to the northeast from capital Damascus during some recent fighting.
“During the military operations some buildings near the Armenian monuments indeed were damaged, but the Armenian church has never been a target,” Reisian emphasized.
“Some stones came off the nearby buildings as a result of shootings and explosions and broke some of the church glass,” he added.
The Armenian church representative said that at present the Diocese was conducting examinations to assess the damage.
Late last month the Armenian Surp Gevorg (St. George) church located at a scene of continuing fighting between the Syrian army and rebels in Aleppo was seriously damaged by fire. The Diocese strongly condemned the attack on the church.
Meanwhile, life has not been easy for thousands of ethnic Armenians in Aleppo, Damascus and other Syrian cities and towns since fighting intensified last summer. Several dozens of them have been killed or wounded in the continuing armed conflict. Hundreds of Armenian families from Syria have taken refuge in Armenia.