Aleppo’s Armenian Christian Neighborhoods Targeted By Jihadi (and Turkish) Rockets
Rockets from the city’s eastern sector hit Christian areas for days, fired by the al Nusra Front on Turkish orders. At least five Armenian Christians have been killed over the weekend, and a dozen wounded. Aleppo’s Armenian community calls for help from all the Churches of the world.
(AsiaNews) – Fighting and dying continue not only in eastern Aleppo, where the Syrian army is pursuing its offensive backed by Russian air strikes, but also in the government-controlled western districts.
Local sources said that over the weekend the Russian-Syrian airstrikes hit a hospital in the eastern sector. At the same time, the Armenian districts in the western sector of northern Syria’s economic hub came under fire from the city’s jihadi-controlled eastern sector.
This attack began last Friday, on September 30. Local sources said that the predominantly Armenian areas of Nor Kiugh and Villa were especially targeted. Al Nusra forces are thought to be behind it acting on Turkish order, local witnesses said. In fact, Ankara appears to be directing the bombing of Armenian civilians.
Four people are known to have died: Dzila Jabaghcourian, Arman Hindoyan, Hasmig Ghiragossian, and Mireille Hindoyan.
According to Aleppo Kantzasar, the local Armenian language newspaper, Turkey is the instigator of the massacres of innocents through “its local agents”, which is how it describes the al Nusra Front, Turkmen groups, and the El Nur Eddin Zanki movement.
The death of these four people came right after the death of 47-year-old Sevan Haddadian, who was killed in the bombing in Suleymaniye, another Armenian area in western Aleppo.
Two other Armenian Christians seriously injured in the bombings are currently fighting for their life. Seven others reported minor injuries.
Also last Friday, students at an Armenian school in Aleppo, founded by missionary Karen Jeppe for orphans who survived the Turkish genocide of 1915, were moved to underground shelters. They were unable to reach their families until late evening.
Between 23 and 30 September rocket attacks from eastern Aleppo, especially Bustan el Pasha, Madrassat al Hikme, al Rashidin 4, Project 1070 and the financial district, hit in particular Christian neighborhoods, claiming 57 lives (20 children, 14 women and 23 men) and injuring another 167, including 37 children and 53 women.
The districts in western Aleppo subject to rocket attacks and sniper fire include predominantly Christian Suleymaniye and al Maydan, as well as al Jabiriya, al Hamadaniya and Jamiyaat.
Rockets also hit a group of Sunni worshipers as they left the mosque in al Zahra’a at the end of Friday prayers. The al Nusra Front, an extremist Islamic group that describes itself as the protector of Sunnis, was responsible for the attack.
Aleppo’s Armenian community has appealed for help from all the Churches of the world through Kantzasar, calling for “an end to the bombings against innocent civilians on both sides of the city.”
Aleppo’s Armenian newspaper also thanked “His Holiness the pope for not forgetting Aleppo’s tragedy during his pastoral visit to Georgia.”
The Armenian foreign minister, who expressed his “deep concern” over the escalation of violence, also announced that Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan ordered that two planes with urgent humanitarian aid be sent to Syria.
“Aleppo is dying before the eyes of the world amid extreme indifference,” said a presenter on the first channel of Armenian State television, “just like 101 years ago when our nation was exterminated as a whole.”