Today, Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA), Co-Chair of the U.S. House of Representatives Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, released the following statement on the recent siege on the Christian Armenian city of Kessab, Syria:
“I strongly condemn the brutal attacks on the Armenian-populated town of Kessab by al-Qaeda affiliated armed bands. I am deeply saddened by the news of 80 lost lives and remain concerned for the fate of those who were forced to flee the area. This massacre underscores the particular vulnerability of Christian and other minorities in Syria and is another example of the atrociousness and endless cruelty of the Syrian conflict. Further, I am deeply concerned by the reports that these attacks allegedly originated in Turkey and demand that the United States and international community conduct a thorough and critical investigation of these claims.”
Yesterday, the Armenian Assembly of America’s executive director, Bryan Ardouny, and Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, Diocesan Legate of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), met with officials at the U.S. Department of State. The meeting came just days after the Assembly sent a pointed letter to President Barack Obama urging him to take steps to safeguard the Armenians of Kessab. On Wednesday, the Assembly publicly condemned the assault on Kessab and remains alarmed at reports that Al-Qaeda affiliated Islamic extremists crossed into Syria via NATO ally Turkey, resulting in the displacement of over 650 families and the confiscation and looting of Armenian homes, businesses and religious sanctuaries.