March 28, 2014

ANC Australia requests government support for Armenians of Kessab

ANC Australia requests government support for Armenians of Kessab -

 

SYDNEY: The Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC Australia) has written to Julie Bishop, Australia's Foreign Minister, requesting her government calls on Turkey to "immediately cease the ongoing attacks by various Al-Qaeda affiliated foreign fighters who have targeted the civilian population in the predominately Armenian region of Kessab, Syria".


The recently-peaceful Kessab, a historically Christian Armenian region in Syria, was on March 21st subject to attacks by hundreds of terrorists entering from bordering Turkey.

Under the threat of slaughter, the entire Armenian population of the region was forced to flee their homes to neighbouring towns, including Latakia and Bassit. Some were not so lucky and have reportedly been taken hostage, while churches and homes have been destroyed.

ANC Australia's letter to Bishop reads: "Turkey’s involvement in the facilitation of Al-Qaeda affiliated foreign fighters and their attacks on innocent civilians in Syria will only lead to the hindrance of international efforts to bring peace and stability to a country, which has seen a conflict rage for over three years."

"The actions of Turkey are a bitter reminder to Armenians still living in the region and around the world of the genocide committed against the Armenian, Greek and Assyrian communities by the Ottoman Turkish authorities from 1915-1923."

ANC Australia has called on Australia to exercise its leadership position within the international community to put an end to this breach of human rights.

"Australia, in its capacity as a member of the United Nations Security Council, has the moral and legal obligation to stop Turkey’s provocations and the assistance it provides to these radical groups."

"As foreign minister of the Commonwealth of Australia we call upon you to press Turkey to stop facilitating such attacks in the Kessab region and to investigate the reports of Turkey’s involvement with foreign fighters, which have been designated as terrorist groups by Australia."

ANC Australia's Executive Director, Vache Kahramanian said: "We cannot sit idly by and allow such overt breaches of human rights under the guise of war. Australia must act, and the Armenian National Committee pledges to do all it can to advocate for this on behalf of our community, many of whom have relatives in Kessab."


24 March 2014

The Hon. Julie Bishop MP
Minister for Foreign Affairs
PO Box 6022
House of Representatives
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Cc
The Hon. Joe Hockey MP

Dear Minister:

I am writing to you to urgently request that the Australian Government press our ally, Turkey to immediately cease the ongoing attacks by various Al-Qaeda affiliated foreign fighters who have targeted the civilian population in the predominately Armenian region of Kessab, Syria.

The news emerging over the past 24 hours has lead numerous Australians to raise serious concerns about family members and friends in Kessab, a historically Christian Armenian region in Syria, which borders Turkey. Throughout the Syrian crisis the region of Kessab had been relatively peaceful, until March 21st to emerge that Turkey had allowed hundreds of radical foreign fighters to cross the Turkish border into Syria and attack the civilian population.

To protect the civilian Christian Armenian population in the region of Kessab, almost all have now fled to neighbouring towns of Latakia and Bassit to avoid slaughter. Those who were unable to flee, have reportedly been taken hostage, while churches and homes and been destroyed.

Turkey’s involvement in the facilitation of Al-Qaeda affiliated foreign fighters and their attacks on innocent civilians in Syria will only lead to the hindrance of international efforts to bring peace and stability to a country, which has seen a conflict rage for over three years. The actions of Turkey are a bitter reminder to Armenians still living in the region and around the world of the genocide committed against the Armenian, Greek and Assyrian communities by the Ottoman Turkish authorities from 1915-1923.

Australia, in its capacity as a member of the United Nations Security Council, has the moral and legal obligation to stop Turkey’s provocations and the assistance it provides to these radical groups. It sends a strong signal that such targeted military strikes against civilians are a blatant violation of international law and will not be tolerated under any circumstance. As foreign minister of the Commonwealth of Australia we call upon you to press Turkey to stop facilitating such attacks in the Kessab region and to investigate the reports of Turkey’s involvement with foreign fighters, which have been designated as terrorist groups by Australia.

We further more call upon Australia to immediately allocate funds as part of its humanitarian aid program for needs based assistance to victims of the onslaught on Kessab, without delay.

We look forward to engaging with your office to address this urgent matter.

Yours sincerely,

(signed)

Vache H. Kahramanian
Executive Director

         
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