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Armenians of Syria on the brink of extinction?2012-06-21 15:24
Situation in Syria is deteriorating day by day. Clashes between the government forces with the Syrian opposition (the government calls them terrorists) are going on more than a year, the situation is heating up. A particular threat is looming over Christian ethnic minorities, in particular, the Armenians of Syria. The coming to power of radical Islamists threatens them a religious terror.
Tensions in a multicultural and multiconfessional Syria are becoming more and more frequent. They cover new cities and towns. The situation is fraught with civil war. This will cause chaos for everyone who lives in Syria, where the nations and religious groups are not divided not on certain regions, but on blocks, which also poses a major threat to neighboring states. This bloody dangerous mix primarily poses a threat to national minorities, especially to the Christian community. After all, if radical Islamists come to power they can start a religious terror.
Now Armenian community of Syria, which, according to various sources, amounts from 80 to 100 thousand people, has got into such an unenviable situation. Armenians settled in Syria since the dawn of Christianity; they live mostly in Damascus and Aleppo. Over the years, Armenians' amount is constantly increasing; but the biggest flow of Armenians to Syria took place after the genocide in the Ottoman Empire in 1915, when about 1 million people was exiled to the Syrian desert of Deir es-Zor.
The Armenian community in Syria. History and Reality
According to the Yerevan experts, until the beginning of a strong deterioration of the situation in Syria, the Armenian community felt safe and comfortable. Its representatives are full-fledged citizens of the country and they are considered the most organized community throughout the Diaspora. In Syria, the Armenians live compactly. For example, the quarter in Aleppo, where the Armenians live, is called the Armenian quarter. In Syria, there are national Armenian schools, there are newspapers published on Armenian, as well as the Armenian churches.
The activities of the Armenian community in Syria cover various areas - business, commerce, medicine, journalism, pedagogy, literature and law, but not politics. The Armenians are a law-abiding citizens and Syria not interfering into politics. For a long period of time, the Armenian community, as well as all national minorities, supports the power, that is, the Assad regime. According to the experts, the favorable attitude of Assad's clan towards national minorities comes from the fact that the Assads are members of religious minorities - Muslim Alawite.
In an interview to GTimes former Armenian Ambassador to Syria, an Arabist, David Hovhannisyan stressed that the tension in Syria had recently increased, but in large cities the situation was under control of the authorities. As described by the expert, clashes in Syria caused casualties among the Armenian community. Media reported that the hostilities have caused damage to property of local Armenians. Death of one Armenian was reported.