Catholicosate of Cilicia
Antelias - Lebanon
On Friday, 21 March, early in the morning, His Holiness Aram I was informed of the assault and bombardment of the radical rebel forces from Turkey on Kessab, the historical Armenian region near the Turkish border. After consultation with the Armenian clergy and community leaders in Latakia, Aleppo, Damascus and Lebanon, the Catholicos demanded that the Syrian authorities protect the Armenian population of the region.
On Saturday evening, the Ambassador of Syria to Lebanon visited the Catholicos, accompanied by Hagop Pakradouni, Member of Parliament, and Hagop Khatcherian, member of the Bureau of the Tashnak Party. The Ambassador assured the Catholicos that the state will do its utmost to restore security in Kessab. The Ambassador also informed the Catholicos that the army had moved the population of Kessab to safety in Latakia, because the militants, who had been armed by the Turkish authorities, have already penetrated tents in Kessab.
On Sunday, during the Holy Liturgy, His Holiness invited the faithful to pray for the Armenian population of Kessab, who 100 years after the genocide had become refugees by an action instigated by Turkey. He then sent a delegation consisting of priests to assess the needs of the refugees.