The Armenian-Australian community raised over $40,000 for #SaveKessab at gatherings in Sydney and Melbourne over the weekend of 5-6 April, 2014, Horizon Weekly reports.
On March 21st, armed rebel groups attacked the heavily Armenian-populated region of Kessab, Syria, by crossing the Turkish border into Syria. Under the threat of slaughter, the entire Armenian population of the region was forced to flee their homes into neighbouring towns, including Latakia and Bassit. Some were not so lucky and have reportedly been taken hostage, while churches and homes have been destroyed.
As a follow-on from the 1,000-person midweek Protest at the Turkish Consulate in Sydney, over 150 community members gathered to raise over $10,000 at the Armenian Cultural Centre in Willoughby – organised by the Armenian Youth Federation of Australia and supported by the Armenian Relief Society, Homenetmen and Hamazkaine.
The Armenian community of Melbourne also raised an impressive $18,000. The Armenian Relief Society of Australia, along with its chapters, contributed $12,000.
The MC at the luncheon held in Sydney on the 6th of April was AYF Australia member, Narine Akillian, who said: “We thank Armenian-Australians for donating both their time at the protest and now digging deep into their pockets to support the Armenians of Kessab.”
Narine also outlined the significant role that Armenian diaspora have in ensuring the long-term safety and well-being of their brothers and sisters in less fortunate surrounds.
Nishan Basmajian, spokesperson of the joint Kessab relief in Australia, then gave the community a recent update about the current climate in Kessab, stating that those who are affected believe that they will return to their homes in the future.
As well as collecting donations, AYF Australia sold #SaveKessab wristbands, with all proceeds going towards the total raised.
AYF Australia ended the Luncheon by thanking all individuals and organisations, who generously donated and supported their work in order to raise awareness and funds for the Armenians in Kessab.