Nearly a century after the Armenian genocide, these people are still being slaughtered in Syria: And now, almost unmentioned in the media, their holy places are also being desecrated.
1 December 2013 – Robert Fisk
Just over 30 years ago, I dug the bones and skulls of Armenian genocide victims out of a hillside above the Khabur River in Syria. They were young people – the teeth were not decayed – and they were just a few of the million-and-a-half Armenian Christians slaughtered in the first Holocaust of the 20th century, the deliberate, planned mass destruction of a people by the Ottoman Turks in 1915.
It was difficult to find these bones because the Khabur River – north of the Syrian city of Deir ez-Zour – had changed. So many were the bodies heaped in its flow that the waters moved to the east. The very river had altered its course. But Armenian friends who were with me took the remains and placed them in the crypt of the great Armenian church at Deir ez-Zour, which is dedicated to the memory of those Armenians who were killed.
And now, almost unmentioned in the media, these ghastly killing fields have become the killing fields of a new war. Upon the bones of the dead Armenians, the Syrian conflict is being fought. And the descendants of the Armenian Christian survivors who found sanctuary in the old Syrian lands have been forced to flee again – to Lebanon, to Europe, to America. The very church in which the bones of the murdered Armenians found their supposedly final resting place has been damaged in the new war, although no one knows the culprits.
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