Syrian Diaries: Armenian Soldiers Killed in Action

ALEPPO, Syria (A.W.)—Two Armenian men, Vrej Keshishian and Masis Khatchadourian, were recently killed in the armed conflict that has engulfed Syria since 2011.

So far, there have been 60 Armenian deaths, including 10 army conscripts.

Born in Aleppo in 1991, Keshishian, 22, had served in the Syrian army since 2011. He was killed in action during military operations in the town of Idlib. His family learned of his death on Aug. 15.

Khatchadourian, another young Armenian conscript who worked at the local Armenian school in Kamshli, was sent to Der Zor in May, and was killed there a few days later, on May 20. His relatives, however, were only notified of his death on Aug. 10. He was buried in Damascus on Aug. 14.

Khatchadourian was a member of the soccer team of the Kamshli chapter of Homenetmen.

Masis Khatchadourian
Masis Khatchadourian

According to the “Kantsasar” weekly newspaper, on Aug. 10 a bus heading from Yerevan to Aleppo was stopped by Syrian rebels, who kidnapped five Armenians, including the driver. It also reported that the four Armenians kidnapped on the July 26 have not yet been released.

During the first week of August, two Armenian civilians living in Aleppo were killed. Nazar Keoshgerian (born in 1974) died during an explosion that occurred near the central prison of Aleppo. Another Armenian, Sarkis Meresjian (born in 1966), was found dead in his car in the region of Djaramana.

According to other sources, on Aug. 8-9, engineers from the Syrian army secured three cars packed with 250-300 kg. of explosives and parked them in the densely populated districts of the “Nor Haleb” (New Aleppo) region.

Approximately 60,000 Armenians lived in Aleppo before the Syrian crisis. Thousands have left the country since.

Varak Ketsemanian

Varak Ketsemanian

Varak Ketsemanian is a graduate of the American University of Beirut (AUB) and the University of Chicago’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies (2014-2016). His master’s thesis titled “Communities in Conflict: the Hunchakian Revolutionary Party 1890-1894” examines the socio-economic role of violence in shaping inter-communal and ethnic relations by doing a local history of the Armenian Revolutionary Movement in the Ottoman Empire. Ketsemanian’s work tackles problems such as the development and polarization of mainstream historiographies, inter-communal stratifications, nationalism, and the relationship of the Ottoman State with some of its Anatolian provinces. He is currently completing a PhD at Princeton University, where his doctoral dissertation will focus on the social history of the National Constitution of Ottoman Armenians in 1863, and the communal dynamics/mechanisms that it created on imperial, communal, and provincial levels. Ketsemanian’s research relates to the development of different forms of nationalism in the 19th and 20th centuries, revolutionary violence, and constitutional movements.


  1. Very sad. May their souls rest in peace. They gave their lives as dutiful citizens for Syria and their own people.

  2. God bless his soul , tsvagsootyoon ira endanikin ! let them get out of there to Armenia until war is finished ,why are they staying in Syria? No amount of wealth can worth a single life of an Armenian!

    • it is not just about wealth, the wealthy ones already fled, some of these people have no means to escape, or are afraid, and some are just surviving day by day, I wish worldwide Armenians would organize not relief by relocation programs, the Syrian mess has no end in sight, and even if things calm down, the future is uncertain, and most likely Aleppo would fall under a sunni islamic rule once the country is finally partitioned, either way I predict nothing but disaster for many many years to come…
      may peace prevail on all, and my deepest sympathy to the parents of the fallen heros
      khor tsavaktsuthyunn@rs em haytnum nahtakvatzneri tznoghnerin
      chunim voch mi khosk vor karoghana meghmatsnel zavki korstyan khist u khotseli visht@
      khatachdourian yev keshishian @ntanikner, dzer tsazv@ mer tsavn al e’, miayn zhamanak@ k’ogne’ dzez hastvelu ays soskali korustin het

  3. Note that Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar are aiding and abetting the jihadis against the Syrian Government, and behind them is the US. The most recent reports describe a US underground command center in Jordan where the US military is directing the dispatch of US trained Muslim fighters into Syria. This is an act of war – Russia will respond to remain credible. The US is on a foolhardy and potentially catastrophic course. Syria has been deep within the Eastern orbit for decades, and after Russia and China were hookwinked by the West at the UN over Libya they have (you could say) drawn a line in the sand to put the West on notice that they will not tolerate any more Western ‘adventures’. We are entering a very dangerous phase of East and West confrontation, but the Western media and the people seem blindly indifferent to it.

  4. RIP to Vrej Keshishian he was not only a proud Armenian but a proud Syrian who gave his life for the great good of his community and family.
    Asdvadz as anmah herosin hokin lousavore
    Our Armenian Hero

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