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MIDEAST > Armenians in Syria fear likely Muslim Brothers’ rule

YEREVAN - Hürriyet Daily News

Syrian Armenians who fled to Armenia says they fear that the Muslim Brotherhood could seize power in Syria. ‘If the Brotherhood takes over in Syria, all Christians will have to leave the country’ says a member

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Members of Syrian Armenian community who fled from violence in Syria gathered for a Sunday service in the garden of the
Armenian Mother See’s Holy Echmiadzin Cathedral, 20 kilometers from the Armenian capital of Yerevan, on Aug 19.

Members of Syrian Armenian community who fled from violence in Syria gathered for a Sunday service in the garden of the Armenian Mother See’s Holy Echmiadzin Cathedral, 20 kilometers from the Armenian capital of Yerevan, on Aug 19.

Vercihan Ziflioğlu Vercihan Ziflioğlu vercihan.ziflioglu@hurriyet.com.tr

Members of Syria’s Armenian community who have fled to Armenia due to the ongoing violence in Syria fear the possibility that the Muslim Brotherhood may seize power there, if Bashar al-Assad’s regime falls.

“If the Muslim Brotherhood takes over in Syria, all Christians will have to leave the country,” Narbey N., a Syrian Armenian who recently fled to Armenia, told the Hürriyet Daily News. He also said that rebels in Syria shouted slogans such as: “Alawites [members of the Muslim sect to which al-Assad belongs] to coffins, Armenians to Beirut.”

The Daily News spoke to a group of Syrian Armenians gathered for a Sunday service in the garden of the Armenian Mother See’s Holy Echmiadzin Cathedral, 20 kilometers from the Armenian capital of Yerevan, on Aug. 19. They did not want to give their surnames to protect their safety.

The migrants are anxious about the future of Syria, but say they have left behind their family members and property, and insist that they will return to the country despite the dangers awaiting them. Armenians regard Syria as their second homeland after Anatolia, and their greatest anxiety stems from the possibility of the al-Assad regime falling and the Muslim Brotherhood coming to power.

“I hope the al-Assad regime does not fall, and that the country will not be taken over by the Muslim Brotherhood. Currently there are no attacks aimed at the Christian population, but their coming to power would be a catastrophe for Christians. In that case, all the Christian communities, including Armenians, would have to leave Syria. The U.S. and other Western states have already lost their Christian values and do not care about us, in the face of such political issues,” Narbey N. said. He believes the Armenian community is experiencing a second catastrophe that could possibly equal the 1915 tragedy, when hundreds of thousands were massacred or forced to migrate by the Ottoman Empire.

‘Alevites in Syria also under threat’


Not only Christians, but also Alawites, are under threat, said Harutyun S. “An inevitable Sunni-Alawite conflict is impending. Turkey supports al-Assad’s fall, but also does not want an independent Kurdish state. But al-Assad’s fall will make the founding of a Kurdish state inevitable. The Armenian community does not want Syria to be divided,” he said.

Narbey N. said he and his family had arrived in Yerevan via Turkey and Georgia, after a difficult journey lasting 40 hours, using a car with an Armenian license plate. Many Syrian Armenians have been fleeing Syria using similar vehicles, he said.

“When the insurgents ask for passports, we show them Armenian passports. Everyone does. After passing the Turkish border, [they] head to Georgia without trouble, and arrive in Yerevan that way,” he said, adding that the conflict in Syria had grown more intense in the last 15 days, with explosions generally taking place during the evening hours, despite everything seeming normal during the daytime.

Despite the dilemma of the Syrian Armenians, Armenia’s Diaspora Ministry does not have a clear-cut policy on those fleeing Syria, and has not announced an official number of the amount of people who have arrived in the country. Despite this, Syrian Armenians have not experienced problems obtaining residence permits. 

August/29/2012

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READER COMMENTS

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Turk Uzan

8/29/2012 10:19:20 PM

@ Johanna and Murat You people must be crazy, then I guess Armenians are going to give back lands that belonged to Armenia's 47% Muslim population according to the Russian archives .. I wonder where all those Muslims disappeared to? Armenians have zero right to get Turkish state or Turkish citizens property, deal with it. We don't need any relations with Armenia, it's Armenia that needs us

greg sarkisian

8/29/2012 7:34:19 PM

So what do you think Nageyec. TIime for another 1915? After all, if any armenian can be blamed, every armenian needs to pay for it. Ain't that right? I mean geez, 1915 was not genocide, it was ottoman armenians "sealing their fate"? That's turkey's official policy now, right? And that is good policy for whoever controls Syria and wants to blame all armenians for the situation there, right? What big damn conspiracy cooked up by the armenian apostates?

Johanna Dew

8/29/2012 4:19:23 PM

@Murat You pop up with a wonderful idea. Which can help both countries. In fact an excellent move that would be, if Turkey has the guts. You never knows.

V Tiger

8/29/2012 2:35:13 PM

Turkens & Circassians as minorities go in Syria are more in numbers & are exactly in the same situation as the Armenians.So according to Nageyec's logic these groups are treacherous as well.What a logic this person has.

Shah Hamdan

8/29/2012 1:23:35 PM

Its not only minorities scared of Islamist or MB Jihadis but Sunni Muslims are also equally scared and threatened. Minorities had lived in Muslims countries for centuries without threats or oppression but not under Salafi or MB rulers. The grand Mufti of Saudia who is spiritual leader of Salafis call for destruction of all churches in Arabian Peninsula. For Sunni Muslims they have destroyed hundred of Sufi shrines and killed even thousands in Mali, Libya, Pakistan, and other parts of world.

american american

8/29/2012 12:44:47 PM

just like those ungrateful iraqis and afghanis who are so unappreciative of the democracy we are bringing them, right nageyec?

Recep Ozel

8/29/2012 12:34:58 PM

It is a legitimate fear considering the 'brotherhood' is gradually growing in influence in the region, is backed by the US, AKP, and has a policy of building some kind of medieval system wherever it goes.

Nageyec Conduz

8/29/2012 12:05:03 PM

Look how treacherous these Armenians are! They have lived in Syria over 1400 years under the rule of Muslims with guaranteed rights as a Christian minority. Yet ungrateful to all that has been done for them. They don't care about plight of the Syrian people who are getting killed in their thousands every day by Mr Asad, to whom they are praying for his stay in power, regardless of what he is doing to is people. What crocodile tear! but they are only sealing their fate

Nadiri Başaran

8/29/2012 11:10:03 AM

Fighting evil does not not make you evil. There is no alternative to the fall of al-Assad, christians are no more in danger than they usually are in moslem countries. As for Armenians, they have Armenia to go to.

Red Tail

8/29/2012 10:10:42 AM

It seems for everyday it becomes more and more obvious that it is not a bunch of good freedom fighters against an evil dictator, but rather two evil forces fighting each other. I am not sure life will be better for the Syrians after the civili war. Unfortunately.
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