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Christians fleeing northeastern Syria

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As shown on the map of Operation Peace Spring, first released by the Turkish Government’s news agency Anadolu, Turkish troops have limited their occupation to a strip along the Turkish border extending 32km into Syrian territory, with the exception of the Syrian city of Qamishli.

However, it is now clear that Turkey and the YPG are pursuing a common policy of expelling Christians from the strip, including those in Qamishli.

In the late nineteenth century and beginning of the twentieth, the Ottomans and their Kurdish mercenaries massacred 1.4 million Armenians, 200 thousand Assyrians and Christians of the Greek-Eastern rite, more than 50 thousand Assyrians in Persia (between 1914 and 1918) and another 800 thousand Armenians and Greeks (between 1919 and 1925). [1]

In March 2014, while the war against Syria was raging, hundreds of jihadists from the al-Nusra Front (the al-Qaeda offshoot in Syria) and the Army of Islam (Yesh al-Islam, backed by Saudi Arabia), who were overseen by the Turkish army, plundered the mostly Armenian-populated town of Kessab in northwestern Syrian. [2]

Against that background, the Armenian community has construed the 11 November murders of the priest Hovsep Petoyan (see photo) and his whole family as an attack carried out by the Islamic Emirate (Daesh) at Turkey’s behest. The Armenian priest had traveled to the Syrian city of Deir-ez-Zor to inspect the restoration of an Armenian church destroyed by Daesh during the war.

[1] Statistics of Democide : Genocide and Mass Murder Since 1900, R.J. Rummel, Transaction, 1998, p. 223-235.

[2] “Today’s Turkey continues the Armenian genocide”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Pete Kimberley, Voltaire Network, 14 May 2015.

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