BRUSSELS—The European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy (ANC of Europe) published an open letter on Thursday, along with a letter addressed to the European Union’s foreign affairs representative, urging for action to be taken to stop the wholesale destruction taking place in the Armenian neighborhood of Nor Kyough in Aleppo, Syria.
The EAFJD letter opens by explaining that since the very beginning of the civil war in Syria, the Armenian Community in Aleppo has suffered big losses in lives, injuries, and property, being in the center of the battleground between the Syrian Army and the opposition forces. The situation has deteriorated in recent periods, since Al Qaeda affiliated forces became the dominant groups fighting in the region, targeting civilians indiscriminately.
“There is no doubt that those extremist rebel forces are armed by Turkey and entering from there, and that they do not fight against the armed forces, but simply target the civilian population in the cities and villages,” the EAFJD’s public statement says.
“Recently, they attacked the Armenian populated town of Kessab, entering from Turkey, forcing the entire population to evacuate the town and find shelter in the city of Latakia. During the last days, those same forces, entering again from Turkey, are attacking Aleppo, targeting Christian and Armenian populated neighborhoods, namely Nor Kyough.
“As reported by news agencies around the world, incessant rocket fire against the Nor Kyough neighborhood, from Al Qaeda affiliated forces, are endangering the lives of the population and are causing massive destruction. Armenian churches, schools, institutions, houses and stores are in complete or partial destruction, making life unbearable for the citizens of the town and causing a new wave of evacuations towards Latakia, which is already overflowing with Armenian refugees from the insurgence of the terrorist groups in Kessab earlier this spring.
“In view of this terribly inhuman situation the Emergency Relief Body of Syrian Armenians (ERBSA) has declared the Armenian-inhabited Nor Kyough neighborhood in Aleppo a “disaster zone.”
“The European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy condemns these continuing attacks against the Armenian population in Syria. There is no doubt that those Al Qaeda affiliated forces are considering now as their target the Armenian towns and neighborhoods and there is evidence that these growing attacks are being encouraged by third countries and especially Turkey, where those groups are armed and circulate freely between the borders of Turkey and Syria, despite assurances to the contrary from Turkey.
“We call on the European Union, that it is time to stop acting as it does until now and condemn strongly the above attacks and to exercise pressure on Turkey to stop arming those rebel groups and sending them to Syria to attack Armenian towns and neighborhoods. We call on all governments, especially those who are supporting the opposition forces to immediately use their leverage to halt the attacks on the Armenian neighborhoods. These governments which do not work to end the operation will be considered moral accomplices in the anti-Armenian attacks and all the other crimes perpetrated by those extremist groups.
“We call on the Syrian authorities to initiate immediate measures to secure the physical safety of the unarmed civilians, aspiring to leave in safety and peace in their towns and neighborhoods.
“The Armenian nation who has suffered a genocide perpetrated by Turkey and other terrible situations, has survived and will not tolerate any new plans for mass attacks against our compatriots in Syria and will respond accordingly all over the world to protect them,” concludes the EAFJD’s open letter.
In a separate letter addressed directly to the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton, the EAFJD urged for action to be taken in ending the violence against civilians, cutting off support for extremist rebels, and holding Turkey responsible for harboring al-Qaeda affiliated combatants.
“If Turkey would not encourage and even provoke those attacks, it would be very easy to secure the borders and forbid the free circulation of these extremist groups,” the EAFJD’s letter says in raising the issue of Turkey’s role in aiding rebel fighters.
“On behalf also of our compatriots, citizens of the European Union, we urge you, as the Head of the exterior relations of the European Union, to take the necessary steps in pressuring those countries that are encouraging those Al Qaeda affiliated groups to stop providing them with arms and money,” the letter concludes.