Today, Congresswomen Jackie Speier (D-CA) issued the following statement following the recent attacks against Armenian Christians in Kessab, Syria, which forced around 2,000 people to flee their homes.
“Armenians are once again being forced to leave their homes as Syria’s civil war rages on and Turkey meddles in the war-torn country’s affairs. The small village of Kessab was a safe haven for this Christian community but now their futures are cast in great doubt as they seek refuge elsewhere, not knowing whether they will ever return home. No one should have to live in fear or leave their homes because of the faith they practice.
“Anti-Armenian violence is real but much of the world still denies it. We must open our eyes to the truth that the assault on these Christians continues nearly 100 years after the Armenian genocide that left nearly l.5 million dead. The U.S. must launch formal inquiries into Turkey’s role and whether this is al-Qaeda-linked aggression.”
Congresswoman Speier is one of two Armenian Americans serving in Congress.
Last week, 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. The National Council of Churches also wrote a letter to President Obama asking him to safeguard the Christian Armenians of Kessab.
Last 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.