By Siranush Ghazanchyan
“Kessab’s centers of Armenian culture – our churches – especially suffered from the actions of Islamists and Turks. When I came here for ministry after the town had been released, I saw bare walls remained from the once flourishing church,” the priest of the local Armenian protestant church Zhirajr Gazaryan shared, according to the Rossijskaya Gazeta Daily.
Akop, head of a Kessab Armenian family, said militants from Tunisia lived in his house during the occupation.
“Turkey played a great role in our troubles. When Jabhad an-Nusra invaded Kessab, entire divisions of the Turkish special operations’ forces rushed into the town together with Salafi. Local guards saved residents of the town from a new genocide of Armenians. They started a battle against bandits, which gave local people time for leaving the town,” Akop said. “However, when Turks seized the town, they brought here residents of their neighboring villages who loaded all valuable things we had in trucks, trailers, tractors, carts and just drove it to Turkey,” he explained.
About 200 residents from the Syrian town of Salma were driven to Saudi Arabia. No one has heard anything from them ever since.
“Salafis rushed into the houses and shot men. They just ordered women and children to turn away and then there were fire shots. Only old men and those who understood what was going on managed to survive and ran from the village to the valley. There were few of them. They killed almost all of us,” 78-year-old Harun Dijib said.