Parliament speaker Hovik Abrahamyan urged MPs to support the Armenian community of Kessab in Syria.
As posted on Abrahamyan’s Facebook page, the speaker transferred his one month’s salary to the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund’s Kessab outreach account, according to Panorama.am.
Located in the northwestern corner of Syria, near the border with Turkey, Kessab had, until very recently, evaded major battles in the Syrian conflict. The local Armenian population had increased in recently years with the city serving as safe-haven for those fleeing from the war-torn cities of Yacubiye, Rakka and Aleppo. On the morning of March 21 extremist foreign fighters launched a vicious attack on Kessab civilians, forcing them to flee neighboring Latakia and Bassit.
Meanwhile, Kessab mayor insisted that none of the local Armenians was executed after the Islamist rebels, among them members of the al-Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front, stormed into the town, RFE/RL Armenian Service reported.
“We have suffered no casualties,” Vasken Chaparian said in a phone interview with RFE/RL’s Armenian Service, referring to alarmist reports spread through the Internet.
Chaparian also dismissed rumors that the rebels took hostage some of around 40 elderly Armenians who were unable to flee Kessab together with the other residents. He said they are being evacuated to Latakia “little by little.”
According to Novosti-Armenia, a rally was held Wednesday, April 2 outside the U.S. Embassy in Yerevan.
Demonstrators demanded that the U.S. condemn Turkey’s actions in Armenian-populated town of Kessab.
“We are here to raise our concerns about deportations of the Kessab Armenians, in which the Turkish military forces took part,” the rally initiator Levon Hovhannisyan told reporters.
As he noted, although the U.S. expressed concern over Kessab tragedy, it has made no statement condemning Turkey.
Later, U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission Clark Price approached the protesters, listened to their demands, and assured that he will inform the ambassador about the recent events.