Two Thousand Kessab Armenians Find Safety in Latakia (Update)

International and Local organizations providing support

LATAKIA, Syria (A.W.)—A delegation of priest from the Catholicosate of Cilicia who had visited Latakia to assess the needs of Kessab Armenians and express solidarity returned to Antelias after the Sunday Badarak.

Badarak in Latakia on Sunday
Badarak in Latakia on Sunday
Rebels in Kessab
Rebels in Kessab



According to the delegation, the local Armenian community, the International Red Cross, and the Red Crescent are providing assistance to those who have sought refuge in the city. An estimated 2,000 Kessab Armenians are currently in Latakia.

“Many Armenian families are staying with relatives and friends, while others have sought refuge in the Armenian Church and the church’s hall,” said Syrian Armenian community activist Nerses Sarkissian during a phone interview with Weekly editor Khatchig Mouradian.

“The Aleppo Armenian Prelacy as well as the Red Crescent are providing relief and assistance to these families in Latakia,” Sarkissian added.

Extremist fighters engage in robbery and desecration

The fighters, mostly from the extremist Nusra Front, who have entered Kessab are desecrating churches, pillaging houses, and destroying government buildings, Sarkissian told the Weekly. A few Syrian Armenians have been unable to leave Kessab, and their fate is unclear, he added.

Sarkissian underlined that the fighters came from the Turkish side of the border and are receiving support from the Turkish military. He noted that the injured among them are being transported back to Turkey to receive medical attention.

Assad ‘reassures’ Aram Catholicos

Syria’s ambassador to Lebanon visited Catholicos Aram I in Antelias on March 22, conveying to him Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s assurances that peace will be restored in Kessab.

A delegation of priests left Antelias for Latakia on March 23 to assess needs and express the Catholicosate’s solidarity with the displaced population of Kessab.

Turkey downs Syrian fighter jet

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed reports that the Turkish military had shot down Syrian fighter jet. The fighter jet crashed in Kessab. According to Ankara, it came under fire after crossing the Turkish border.

Meanwhile, clashes continued. “According to a military source, units of the armed forces have since morning been directing fatal strikes to the terrorist groups which infiltrated the border from Turkey in Kassab area, inflicting heavy losses upon them,” reported the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) on March 23.

Perched in the northwestern corner of Syria, near the border with Turkey, Kessab had, until very recently, evaded major battles between the army and rebels. Many Syrians had taken refuge there because of the relative calm in the area over the past three years.


  1. A deliberate intervention and act of war by Turkey, and its continuation of the Armenian Genocide. This country of backwards nomadic savages does not deserve to breathe the air of the region.

    Does this mean that we as Armenians can no longer stay neutral?

  2. Arshag, Arshag: where are you ?

    Your ‘human conscience’, ‘terrorist’ (in quotes) buddies are , how shall I put it, “Desecrating Churches in Kessab”.
    Quick, call your EU/NATO/US buddies to intervene and save Christians from extermination by, you know, ‘human conscience terrorists’.
    Me, I am calling that evil Russian guy, President of Russia Putin, see if he can spare some of thems Orthodox Christian Cossacks to wipe out thems Radical Islamist Terrorist Anti-Christian, Anti-Armenian, Anti-Alawite Terrorists.

    • Right Avery,
      Turkey made an excuse to threaten invading Syria over the tomb of a nomadic illegal alien’s “sovereign Turkish territory”, the funniest part being also against the “rebels” which Turkey itself trains and supports.

      I don’t know how many of these terrorist invaders are causing the havoc, but I’m sure a few dozen volunteers from the Artsakh or Russian army can take care of them. In fact I suspect that now Armenians there are going to take up arms.

    • General Antranig, Kevork Chavoush and Tro please help us!
      Where are all the Armenians of the world who pretend to be true Armenians? Hypocrites and traitors these Armenians just talk and blow hot air. We must and should protect our lands and people. Armenia should send a detachment of special forces to protect Kessab and Ainjar. Are we doing anything? NO NO NO………

  3. By downing thr Syrian fighter jet, Erdogan is trying to use as a cover up for his and his family’s corrupt activities

  4. Call on the US government to stop it’s evil ally Turkey sending terrorists to Syria, enough is enough. President Assad is not going anywhere. The US/NATO and allies should stop intervening in Syria.

    • Apparently the Armenian National Committee of America has called on the US to send US Ambassador to Turkey and Secretary of State John Kerry to Turkey to ”deal” with this. The US already being on the side of the rebels and helping them in every way, it would indeed be very suspicious if they suddenly decided to ”intervene”. Such an issue must be resolved by an international community, and certainly not by only certain countries.

  5. Also interesting: Turkish channel HaberTurk just happened to be broadcasting live at the remote border region at the time the plane was shot down.

    • RVDV, Erdogan playing political game. He is trying to distract people from demonstration. I am sure most Turkish intellectuals are aware of Erdogan latest “twits” and tactics!

    • Everyone opposed to him can see right through his ‘tactics’, but you have to understand the mentality of Erdogan supporters, who will still win him the election. There is actually a mindset of ‘even if Erdogan and his associates stoles tens of millions of euros they did for the good of the people’ or ‘surely they knew something we didn’t and HAD to steal that money’. So while Turkish intellectuals DO see through his tricks, Erdogan doesn’t have to pander to that minority, he just has to appease the uneducated, religious, nationalist masses.

  6. For this latest Turco-Islamo-Western aggression against Syria and Armenians, the proud “AmerikaHay” community (especially those championing Western fairytales inside Armenia, including ARF types in north America) can thank their spiritual bosses in Washington – for this is the thank you you will get every time for serving Western imperial interests.

  7. These psychopaths are not rebels , call them terrorists , cannibals , criminal gangs , religious extremists but not rebels . secondly , the Syrian fighter jet was 7 miles off the Turkish border when it was shot , this is what the pilot said during an interview today evening .

  8. Who is Avery, why does he have such a poor command of the English language, and why does he seem to have stopped taking his psychoactive medications?

    Aside from that, should we perhaps ask the Armenian “reconciliation” crowd to go into Kessab and straighten things out? Would that make an impression on these Turkey-backed thugs?

  9. Avery
    Stop making cheap propaganda over my comment on some other circumstance of war in Syria. We know you are concerned about the fate of Armenians in Kessab. So is every one.

  10. its time to get involved and take arms in support our people in Syria, Turkey and his allies are trying keep Armenians to negotiate for Karabaghs settlement and they will know we will never give up Karabagh and even we will take more from Azerbaijan as in result. lets send vulenteers to Syria ,,, I am ready what about you people?

  11. How long we are going to be passive and sit back do nothing !
    clearly US and Turkey have insinuated attack to Armenians to settle Karabaghs issue as Bargaining tool… But they have to know we will never return Karabagh to those Azeri Criminals and in result of this any future conflict we take more back our ancestories land from Azeries !how long we are so called sitting in comfort and do not engage with this Syrias issues with Armenians under attack? we are the reason allowing them to kill us just by lifting a Cross and hope do not harm us! when we going to prove world we are the deffenders of Christianity and we will not take any more and send vulenteers to fight against all those rebels.. I am the one ready ! what about you brothers? lets sent clear massege to them by standing up and get in Syria from every corner of the world … where are those Fedaies or ASALA hiros,, lets call for Armenian brothers to help our people in Syria once again !

  12. turkey is for sure involved allowing these scum to cross the border, these scum sub-humans are allowed by turkey to desecrate churches,take hostages the world should never allow this, OBAMA wake up. turkey is to blame for this. shame! shame! have they NOT spilled enough ARMENIAN BLOOD.


  14. Arshag:

    The one making cheap propaganda is you.
    I did not write what you wrote about ‘human conscience’ radical Islamist Terrorists: You did.
    Read your own post.

    Don’t hide behind fake outrage: it is unbecoming.

    Admit your mistake.
    Admit you have been wrong all this time.
    Admit the bloodless Neocon vampires of US/EU/NATO you so admire are Anti-Christian, Anti-Armenian and pro-Radical Islamist Terrorists.
    Admit it: if it were not for Russia stopping Neocon coldblooded nonhuman biped lizards, Syria would have been ethnically cleansed of Armenians, Christians, and Alawites a year ago.

    Admit the guy your despise, Putin, stopped it.
    Admit the country you despise, Russia, stopped it.
    Admit the entities you worship, Neocons in US, EU, NATO and all other Neocon bloodthirsty vipers, in assumed human form, are the ones responsible for the terrorist murders of Armenians, other Christians, and Muslim Alawites in Syria.

    You can rag on Putin all you like, and sing hosannas to EU all you want, but you cannot dispute the cold, hard fact that the ‘bad’ guy Putin is the one who stopped the ethnic cleansing of Christians and Alawites from Syria.
    Not President Obama. Not Merkel. Not Hollande. Not Cameron. Not Joe Blow. Not Fritz. Not Maurice.
    But Ivan, aka Vlad.

    That former KGB guy, running “… a corrupt system exacerbated by the increasing concentration of power into one man’s hand. “ (Arshag), did it. (you wrote that, right ?)
    Don’t know about you, but I’d rather have a little corruption (Russia, RoA) and keep my head attached to my neck vs no corruption (EU) and have my head sawn off by Islamist radicals.

    Black is black and white is white.
    Admit it.

    • “Don’t know about you, but I’d rather have a little corruption (Russia, RoA) and keep my head attached to my neck vs no corruption (EU) and have my head sawn off by Islamist radicals.”

      This is a false choice. I’d rather have reduced corruption and have my neck in place. You’re excusing the faults of the Armenian and Russian leadership. You’re making yourself blind to the real and hurtful problems in Armenia. One can both praise and criticize at the same time. One can point out what’s going well in Armenia and point out the issues at the same time.

      Besides, there is no “little corruption” in Russia and Armenia. There is a lot of it. And corruption hurts a country. While Russia, as a large country can linger on and not reach its full potential because of it’s leadership and corruption, Armenia, as a tiny country, faces an existential dilemma with these problems.

      Lower the corruption, the strong and more robust a country is.

      People need to move back to Armenia and make the economy better and increase the tax base of the government of RoA. Why don’t you, as an armchair patriot, set an example for the rest of us, and do it?

  15. Friend of mine from Middle East prompted that best would be to have another BLUE BERET Armenian brigade(like those serving in kosovo and Afganistan) plus some ¨Legionaires¨ go give a hand to Armenians in kessab and other Syrian towns where they need it.After all these RA Blue berets have done a good service to NATO… about one for their compatriots??????
    I agreed with him immediately.

  16. Only NATO can help the minorities in syria.
    1. Kick all foreigners out of Syria.
    2. Force free elections to elect new President and new regime or keep existing; whatever the syrians want.
    3. Only Syria ms can vote.
    4. Provide loans to rebuild the country.

  17. The objective of the attack on Kessab is to eliminate the Christian presence in that area. Besides the anti-Assad radicals, I am sure that the Turks have a hand in this. It is time for the ARF, as the only Armenian force capable of mounting a resistance, to take action to defend the Armenian enclaves in Syria, just as they did during the Lebanese civil war a few years ago.

  18. When American mainstream media calls these “Wahabbi religious Jihadists ” or “cannibals” rebels , I understand the reason for that, but cant find any excuse for an Armenian weekly for doing the same .

  19. It is a shame that the Armenians of Kessab were not prepared on the crisis taking place in Syrian on the Armenian Community. They should have been well armed to protect their families, their property, & churches. This must be a wake up call for all Armenians in the Middle East to be ready to leave and go back to their true homeland before it is too late.

    • Steven, you cannot be serious. You say it is “a shame” that the Armenians of Kessab didn’t protect their town and surrounding villages? Have you any idea of what you speak? Shame? Look up that word in dictionary before rising it around so cavalierly.
      Kessab isn’t Karabagh. They don’t have an army. It is a small town surrounded by some much smaller villages. A few dozen Kessabtsis have fended off repeated attacks in the past, including by foreign Islamist fighters from as far away as Afghanistan. This time, it wasn’t exactly a fair fight as mortars rained down from Turkey. Kessabtsis have tried, like Beirut Armenians during the Lebanese Civil War, to keep their area relatively neutral. But since the Alawites are the second largest group in Kessab, the Armenians are, by default, associated with Assad.
      In short, Kessab Armenians have bravely held on to the last vestiges of Western Armenia (Cilicia) while the rest of us worry about our were set our Directv to dvr the last episode of our favorite show on HBO. We’re all patriots after a few drinks and some Karnig Sarkissian songs, but let’s not criticize the Kessabtsis.

  20. we need more like my greatuncle, enough said !! the turks have not learned that we can find them wherever they are, we chased them thru berlin, vienna etc…the turkish panislam dream is still alive thanks to a dreamer that runs the bastards who like Putin thinks they are still a power to be reconed with…in memory of our heroes we shall not allow a new genocide.

  21. Avery,
    You seem most of the time excited and over-eager to find some reason for agitation. At times, I have appreciated (and still do) your principled stand against the Turkish and Azeri denialists. What the tragic events in Syria concerns we hadn’t any issue on it either except your highly misplaced quotation of my comment on an unusual incident in the chaos of fighting and destruction where a Syrian rebel group acknowledged its fault and even apologized to the Armenians and Christians. My questioh is why is it wrong to appreciate it, to give everyone its due, in this atrocious world where the perpetrators of the Genocide after a century not only do not acknowledge or apologize for it, but still use every opportunity to carry on the dirty job, as we see in Syria?
    But, your problem was something else. In the midst of an atmosphere where passions are rightfully high, you quote my comment in a distorted way in order to, in your view, discredit my crirticism of the government of Armenian and Mr. Putin. I am sorry to have been constrained to answer your unwarranted agitation at this unfortunate conjecture, but this is the old, infamous stalinist methode of dealing with dissenting voices. For now I will leave it at this as there are more overriding concerns at this time.

  22. The Syrian army doing everything they can to defend the Arminian in Kessab Latakia and hundred of the army been killed every day on the hand of thus Muslim extremist and I think the Armenian Syrian community in USA should protest to show all the world what is going on in Syria !!!!

  23. really it’s shame for us Armenian abroad not helping people in Kessab by being aware what might come out.

  24. Board a plane to Beyrouth, cross into Syria and join an armenian selfdefence group. This is the only thing you can do, especially if you have military experience. Remember Monte Melkonian!

    • This is the most sensible comment that I have read for this posting, and I totally agree with it. It is the only way to help Armenians under attack, whether in Kessab or elsewhere.

  25. Monte was as an Armenian hero, our version of “Che”, who died fighting for our people. Many Montes are needed now to defend our people. You’rw probably right aschenbrucker, joining a self-defense group may be the best we can do.

  26. Dear Shant,
    And that advice is coming from a non Ar,menian!!!!shame on us!!!!!
    where are our komictagees…we need non so like Monte!!!he was not ideologist Armenian political party member…he was plainly A PATRIOT!!!!

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