Armenians in Kessab for the second time in 100 years were forced to leave their homes.
In 1915 during Armenian Genocide habitants of Syrian northwestern town were deported by Turkey. Second exile came on March 21 2014, when Syrian war’s Islamist rebels invaded the Christian town entering from Turkish border.
With different estimates 15-20 elderly people didn’t leave their houses willing to live last days in their homeland. Already 10 days passed after Islamic armed forces control the territory, but there is no news about those who stayed there.
“One Reverend told that he called to his brother who stayed in Kessab. The home phone was picked up by one terrorist. Can you imagine? He took the phone and said al-Nusra (terrorist group) is listening,”- told Armenian deputy Arman Sahakyan in an interview with GALA after returning from Latakia where refugees from Kessab are sheltered.
Some people found temporary lodging in the Armenian church of Latakia, some could found shelter at their relatives in different cities.
Maral Penetezian’ father, mother and sister joined her in Damascus after an Arab friend informed them about situation and urged to escape as soon as possible.
“[My family] was one the first who left the village. When they were out of the house the village was already under fire from Turkish side.” – says pharmacist Penetezian noting that his father is dreaming to return to Kessab. Coming to Armenia is the last hope for them, - “I convince a lot to go to Armenia, but my father lived in Kessab all his life, all his loiter is there. Armenian should always be in Kessab, that’s what he says to me.”
Celebrities and thousands of ordinary people from Armenia, Turkey started a campaign for supporting people of Kessab.