European Parliament condemns attack on Kessab and other vulnerable communities

Today, the European Parliament in its last plenary session before the May 2014 elections, adopted a resolution on Syria, expressing its concern on the latest developments in the country, especially with the situation in Kessab, and vulnerable communities who find themselves in the middle of the war.

The resolution specifically condemns the attack against the Armenian town of Kessab, and takes note that “the fights between regime forces and rebel fighters, including elements linked to Al-Qaeda, at the end of March 2014 led to the evacuation of the vast majority of the population of Kassab, an Armenian town on the Syrian-Turkish border”.

The resolution also takes note of the rich diversity of ethnic and religious communities, stressing that these communities have always been part of Syrian society, and have an important role to play in the democratization of Syria and need to be represented in any consultation on the country’s future and in any reconciliation process; and that these communities had tried to avoid taking sides in the conflict, and as many may recognize the need for a change of regime in Syria, but also fear that, if the government is overthrown, they will be targeted by Sunni jihadist rebels calling for the establishment of an Islamic state. The European Parliament is also worried with the Al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front capturing a number of Christian and Kurdish villages on the Turkish border.

Bastiaan Belder (Europe of Freedom and Democracy, the Netherlands) stressed that the resolution will not be full, unless it mentions the whole truth about Kessab, about Turkish involvement once again, after the Armenian Genocide, in depopulating the Armenians of the region; MEP Belder also noted, that there must be an investigation on Turkey’s role in the attack against Kessab, which is a continuation of Ankara’s disastrous Middle East policy. Veronique De Keyser (Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, vice-chair, Belgium) condemned the depopulation of Armenians from Kessab by terrorist groups.

Joaquin Almunia, Vice-president of the EU Commission, is troubled with the jihadist attack on Kessab and the extremely violent civil war in Syria, stressing that the EU will be helping the vulnerable groups and those displaced in the three years of the Syrian conflict.

Kaspar Karampetian, President of the European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy (EAFJD) stressed that the resolution has been soft on Turkey, which opened its borders with Kessab assisting the jihadists to attack the region, but nevertheless, puts the blame on Turkey for the border attacks on Christian and Kurdish cities and hindering humanitarian aid. “Turkey is guilty of assisting the extremists in driving out the peaceful population at the border with Syria”, said Kaspar Karampetian.

“Armenians are thankful to the Syrian people for sheltering us after the Genocide committed by Turkey 99 years ago, and we sympathize them for the terrible violence in the country these days. We hope for an end soon, and that all communities are part of Syria and must be included in re-building the country with no outside interference”, said Karampetian, and concluded that the EAFJD is committed in assisting the Armenian community of Syria with humanitarian aid from Europe.

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