Official Yerevan on Thursday strongly condemned Turkey’s brutal attack on northeastern Syria, which is in its second day and is impacting regions with Armenian civilian population.
During Thursday’s cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan called on the international community to take practical steps to stop what he termed to be an “illegal operation.”
“Yesterday the Turkish armed forces invaded Syria. Armenia’s foreign ministry has already issued a relevant statement. I want to state, once again, that Armenia condemns this invasion by Turkey, and we are concerned with the situation because in our view this action will further deepen the humanitarian crisis in Syria. We call on the international community to take practical steps to stop this illegal operation and protect the citizens of Syria, including the national minorities, as well as their rights along the border with Turkey,” Pashinyan said.
The prime minister said that the Armenian humanitarian mission dispatched this year to Aleppo, will continue its mission.
The Armenian foreign ministry announcement that Pashinyan was referencing strongly condemned Turkey’s unilateral attack on Syria.
“The plight of ethnic and religious minorities is of particular concern,” said the statement by Armenia’s Foreign Ministry. “This military invasion also creates an imminent threat of identity based grave and massive violations of human rights.”
The foreign ministry called on the international community to take “effective steps aimed at halting this military invasion, prevent mass atrocities and protect the population of Syria on the borders of Turkey.”
“Armenia supports the unity and sovereignty of Syria and urges Turkey to refrain from military offensive against Syria and its people,” said the foreign ministry. “Armenia will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to the friendly people of Syria on the ground.”
The Armenia’s National Security Council director Armen Grigoryan told reporters that his body will discuss the matter of ensuring the security of Armenians living in Syria.
“At the moment there is a need to discuss and identify how we can ensure the security of Armenians living in Syria, as well as to understand what kind of assistance we can provide. We will develop the discussions in a more detailed way in the Office of the Security Council and will hold more thorough discussions at the end of the day,” Grigoryan told reporters on Thursday after the cabinet meeting.
“Turkey’s military operations in Syria launched on October 9 are not only illegal and should be condemned as a gross violation of the international law, but they also directly affect the security of the Armenian communities in several areas,” Armenia’s High Commissioner on Diaspora Affairs Zareh Sinanyan said in an statement on Thursday.
“Due to the bombings and land offensive the existence of the Armenian communities in Syria’s north-eastern Hasakah district is in danger. The Armenian government is engaged in the efforts to ensure the safety of Armenians and Armenian communities in Syria. Armenia and its people stand together with their compatriots and will do the utmost to ensure their security,” added Sinanyan.
The High Commissioner of Diaspora Affairs told Armenpress that he was in contact with both Armenian community leaders and Armenia’s diplomatic representatives in Syria and is being updated as events unfold.
“I have updates that the Armenian residents of the town of Tell Abyad have left and are moving toward Aleppo. Our compatriots in Qamishli are still in their region. Let me note that unlike Qamishli, where only bombardments are taking place, ground operations are already taking place around Tell Abyad,” Sinanyan told Armenpress.
“Sixteen Armenian families from Tell Abyad are approaching Aleppo. We will contact them individually as soon as they reach Aleppo. There are around 430 Armenian families in Qamishli, with whom we maintain contact through our diplomatic representatives,” explained Sinanyan.
“The Office of the High Commission of Diaspora Affairs is cooperating and will cooperate with other [governmental] agencies in order to create the safest conditions for our compatriots and, most important, in order not to have human losses,” added Sinanyan.
Nazerli Elbakyan, the spokesperson for Armenia’s humanitarian mission in Syria, told news.am that operations of the group have not been halted due to the Turkish attacks and Armenian medical professionals and demining experts continue their daily activities in Aleppo.