Serzh Sargsyan: Deportation of Kessab Armenians a challenge to mechanisms of protection of national minorities

Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan made a statement for the press on Kessab events. Speaking in The Hague on the sidelines of the World Nuclear Summit, President Sargsyan expressed deep concern over the events around Kessab. “All of us remember the history of Kessab very well. Unfortunately, in the course of the past centuries it has been rich in hellish realities of deportation of Armenians,” Serzh Sargsyan said.

The President reminded that Kessab faced the first serious assault back in 1909, when the Turkish armed detachments entered the city. Armenians found refuge in the Karadouran Mountains and the seashore. After robbing and putting the city on fire, the Turks moved to Karadouran to rob and set ablaze the houses of the upper district. In a French vessel the Armenians moved to Latakia. After spending a year in Latakia, the refugees returned to Kessab and reconstructed their houses.

Touching upon the historic events, Serzh Sargsyan recalled another date in history – the year 1915, when the population of Kessab did not stay apart from the Armenian Genocide.  The Armenians of Kessab were deported in two directions – to Deir ez-Zor and Jordan. Thousands of them died, most of them in the deserts of Deir ez-Zor.

“Today’s deportation of Kessab Armenians – the third in history – is a most serious challenge to the mechanisms of the 21st century targeted at the protection of national minorities. I think everyone should realize that these parallels should be sobering for all parties,” President Serzh Sargsyan said.

The President thanked the Syrian authorities for the steps taken to protect the Kessab Armenians in these times of hardship.

“I have already instructed Armenian representations at UN Offices in New York and Geneva to pursue the issues of guaranteeing the security of Kessab Armenians and their return to their homes at structures specialized on issues of human rights and national minorities,” President Sargsyan said.

The President has discussed the issue with his Holiness Aram I, the Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia.

According to President Sargsyan, the Armenian Embassy in Syria is working on assistance programs for Kessab Armenians.

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