ALEPPO (Combined Sources)—The escalating clashes in Syria’s largest city, Aleppo, have reached the Armenian populated areas leaving two Armenians dead and one injured, according to community leaders there.
Viken Kalaydjian and Jean Tabbash were identified as the fatalities of the clashes, while little is known about the wounded community member, except that he goes by the name of Mgo. (Asbarez will update the name as information comes in).
Jirair Reyisian, the spokesman for the Armenian Prelacy of Syria, was quick to point out that the attacks taking place in the Armenian-populated areas of Aleppo are not directed toward the Armenian community, but rather at government offices in the area.
Reyisian warned, however, that the situation in Aleppo can pose potential danger for community members who might be caught in the crossfire.
“This morning I woke up from the sounds of shootings which are very close to Armenian populated districts. The clashes and shootings which are continuing are taking place in the center of the city where many Armenians reside,” Reyisian told Armenpress news agency.
“Only after the tensions subside we can talk with Armenians. Though these attacks are not directed against Armenians but clashes can be difficult for Armenians,” Reyisian added. He explained that there was no direct damage to Armenian institutions and churches. He also denied rumors about the closure of the St. Gevorg Armenian Church.
Last week Reyisian announced that under the auspices of the Prelacy, Armenian organizations, institutions and youth have come together to ensure that community members and others living in these areas are unharmed and the needs of the community are met. Through volunteer neighborhood watch groups and organizational centers, the Armenian neighborhoods in Aleppo, Damascus and elsewhere are being protected.
Meanwhile, the Armenian Relief Society Western US Regional Executive has established a fund to assist the Syrian-Armenian community. The ARS Regional Executive issued an urgent appeal to the community to donate to this fund. Donations may be made by credit card or PayPal at www.arswestusa.org/donate, through a chapter, or sending your check to ARS of Western U.S.A., Regional Executive, 517 W. Glenoaks Blvd., Glendale, CA 91202-2812.
Over the weekend, Armenia temporarily moved its consulate-general in Aleppo to a safer location in Syria’s largest city.
Tigran Balayan, the Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesman, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) that the consulate premises are now located closer to central Aleppo neighborhoods populated by tens of thousands of ethnic Armenians. There have been no reports of major fighting there yet.
Balayan said the main purpose of the relocation is to “organize consular services provided to Syrian Armenians in a safer and faster manner.”