Just like their ancestors forced from their homes in Eastern Anatolia in 1915-16, the last Armenian families living in the embattled northern Syrian town of Kobane have fled after the repeated jihadist attacks - and they do not intend to go back - Idris Emen, Sanliurfa for Hurriyetdailynews
The Turkish newspaper Hurriet reported that the last Armenian families left Kobani due to ISIL attack . Some of of these Armenian families are currently living at the Turkish Prime Ministry Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) refugee camp in the Suruç district of Şanlıurfa province.
Kobane/Ayn al-Arab was founded as a small settlement in 1892 during the Ottoman period. It became a town in 1911 with the construction of a railway station there. It was soon populated by Armenian refugees fleeing persecution in Turkey in 1915, although many were forcefully moved further south, scattered between Qamishli and Deir el-Zor. The Armenians were followed by Kurds from Anatolia. By the middle of the 20th century, there were three Armenian churches and two schools in the town, but most of the Armenian population emigrated to the Soviet Union in the 1960s. Until the start of the Syrian civil war many Armenians worked around Kobani in various fields and many Armenian families trace some roots to Ayn al-Arab. According to political scientist Cengiz Aktar of the Istanbul Policy Center, the area surrounding Kobani is known as “‘the Armenian cemetery’ because of the thousands of Armenians who died there during the deportations of 1915.
While we have been concerned about the faith of the Armenian community in Aleppo as a major offensive is under way by rebel forces, we are also concerned about the plight of smaller Armenian communities in remote areas like Ayn-El Arab, Qamishli, Hassakeh, Kessab and elsewhere. As Robert Fisk has reported previously small communities - Like the one in Deir el Zour - got completely destroyed.
We are also concerned about the plight of 374 Armenians from Mosul that took refuge in Erbil, the capital of Kurdistan, after the fall of Mosul in June of 2014.
Why haven't (and still Aren't) collective efforts of the Armenian Diaspora in coordination with the Government of Armenia undertaking an organized effort to "evacuate" endangered small Armenian communities that are in harms way in Syria and Iraq into safety in Armenia ?
Armenia today has charitable programs established by major international organizations (UNHCR, Oxfam, Caritas, etc.) and in coordination with the Government of Armenia and some Diasporan organizations with a capacity to provide hundreds of Syrian refugee families humanitarian social services (rent subsidy, healthcare, education, etc.).
The #RootsForRefugees campaign is to benefit one such program. The rent subsidy program initiated by Oxfam Armenia in early February 2015, in partnership with ARP and the Syrian Armenian Relief Fund aims to help augment the absorptive capacity in Armenia (established by UNHCR) to benefit the influx of refugees and other vulnerable families arriving in Armenia on a weekly basis.
The #RootsForRefugees campaign is an opportunity to come together to make a difference in the lives of Syrian refugee families. Only together, can we make the greatest difference.
#RootsForRefugees campaign ends July 7th 2015 11:59pm PST ; We have reached 94% of our target. Make sure you are counted in history. Make a gift today to create possibility and transform lives.
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