Armenian Social Council: SDF holds the key to peace in Syria

Members of the Armenian Social Council made a statement to the press in front of the council’s headquarters in the Kibaba neighborhood of Heseke.

The statement read by the co-chair of the council, Imad Teteryan, denounced the attempts of foreign powers and their collaborators that seek to incite sedition among the peoples in the region by distorting the Syrian Democratic Forces’ (SDF) Operation Security Reinforcement against ISIS cells and criminal elements in Deir ez-Zor region and by portraying it as a campaign against tribes.

“The SDF is not a Kurdish force as some circles claim, but is made up of Arabs, Kurds, Armenians, Syriacs, Assyrians, Turkmens, Circassians, Christians, Muslims and Yazidis. The SDF protects all components and religions. It has freed the region from the atrocities, persecution and terror of ISIS mercenaries and their supporters. Half of the fighters in SDF ranks are made up of the children of the Arab population and tribes,” said the statement.

The Armenian Social Council pointed out that: “We are against any form of discrimination between religions. We are meant to live together in our land with pride, honor, love and peace. We support the SDF and the Democratic Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria. We stand against the intended instigation.”

The council stressed that the SDF holds the key to peace in Syria and is the people’s hope for freedom and equality.

We commemorate our founding leader, the Armenian fedayeen, the immortal commander Nubar Ozanyan

We stand today with pride to salute martyrdom as a symbol of the resistance and revolution for freedom, justice and equality. Today we stand to commemorate Nubar Ozanyan, a journey of struggle and resistance that lasted more than 60 years.

Comrade Nubar began to rise among the ranks of the TKP-ML and to the revolutionary movements that seek to free and serve people and confront dictatorial fascism, after which he became an important recruiter, trainer and leader who planned battles and war. He participated in the war between Karabagh and Azerbaijan between 1991 and 1992. On this day, Karabagh needs a new Ozanyan spirit. Then Nubar Ozanyan noticed the Israeli-Zionist aggressions against the #Palestinian people. He went to Palestine to join the Palestinian people in their struggle for freedom. They came to Rojava to confront the terrorist organization ISIS and to liberate the peoples, of course Armenian people, but also the Kurdish people, the Arab people, and the Yazidi people. We pledge our martyr example Nubar Ozanyan, and we say to him and to all the martyrs that we will follow our promise, and we will complete the march that you started in order to bring liberation to the oppressed peoples.

Armenian Brigade of Ş. Nubar Ozanyan


Missak Manouchian is to be buried in the Pantheon

The Armenian communist resistance fighter, Missak Manouchian, who was shot by the Nazis in 1944, is to be buried in the Pantheon, the famous mausoleum built by the French Republic in recognition of its “Great Men”. Missak Manouchian, born in 1906, was an orphan and a survivor of the Armenian genocide of 1915. He arrived in France at the age of 19. A factory worker, communist activist, journalist and poet, he became a member of the Resistance when the Nazis occupied France. He led a group of foreign resistance fighters who formed part of the Francs-Tireurs et Partisans, the communist resistance units. The “Manouchian group” carried out numerous attacks against fascist interests and assassinated high-ranking Nazi officers. The group of around twenty resistance fighters was eventually arrested on 16 November 1943. Tried and convicted, Missak Manouchian and his 22 companions were shot by the fascists at Mont-Valérien on 21 February 1944. His wife Mélinée, an Armenian resistance fighter who outlived her husband by 45 years, will also be enshrined in the Pantheon.

The Armenian People’s Assembly made a written statement regarding the attacks carried out by the Turkish state

The statement said: “The Armenian people will defend our lands by fighting against all attacks. We will not take a single step back. We know the Turkish state closely because of the massacres and genocides it has committed in history. The Turkish state has a bloody history and continues to attack. For this reason, as the children of a people subjected to genocide, we will protect the regions and lands we live in, and we will never leave the battlefield.”

The latest attack by the Turkish state on 20 June, which resulted in the death of Qamishlo Canton Council co-chair Yusra Darwish, her deputy Leyman Shiwesh and council member Firat Tûma, and the injury of co-chair Şemûn Gabî, was condemned.

108 years ago, the Armenian Genocide

In April 1915, the Ottoman government embarked upon the systematic extermination of its civilian Armenian population. The persecutions continued with varying intensity until 1923, when the Ottoman Empire ceased to exist and was replaced by the Republic of Turkey. 

The Armenian population of the Ottoman state was reported at about two million in 1915. An estimated one million had perished by 1918, while hundreds of thousands had become homeless and stateless refugees. By 1923, virtually the entire Armenian population of Anatolian Turkey had disappeared.

The Ottoman Empire was ruled by the Turks who had conquered lands extending across West Asia, North Africa and Southeast Europe. The Ottoman government was centered in Istanbul (Constantinople) and was headed by a sultan who was vested with absolute power. The Turks practiced Islam and were a martial people. 

The Armenians, a Christian minority, lived as second class citizens subject to legal restrictions which denied them normal safeguards. Neither their lives nor their properties were guaranteed security. As non-Muslims, they were also obligated to pay discriminatory taxes and denied participation in government. Scattered across the empire, the status of the Armenians was further complicated by the fact that the territory of historical Armenia was divided between the Ottomans and the Russians.

When World War I broke out in August 1914, the Ottoman Empire formed part of the Triple Alliance with the other Central Powers, Germany and Austria-Hungary, and it declared war on Russia and its Western allies, Great Britain and France.

The Ottoman armies initially suffered a string of defeats, which they made up with a series of easy military victories in the Caucasus in 1918 before the Central Powers capitulated later that same year. 

Whether retreating or advancing, the Ottoman army used the occasion of war to wage a collateral campaign of massacre against the civilian Armenian population in the regions in which warfare was being conducted. These measures were part of the genocidal program secretly adopted by the CUP and implemented under the cover of war. They coincided with the CUP’s larger program to eradicate the Armenians from Turkey and neighboring countries for the purpose of creating a new Pan-Turanian empire. Through the spring and summer of 1915, in all areas outside the war zones, the Armenian population was ordered deported from their homes. Convoys consisting of tens of thousands, including men, women, and children, were driven hundreds of miles toward the Syrian desert.

The deportations were disguised as a resettlement program. The brutal treatment of the deportees, most of whom were made to walk to their destinations, made it apparent that the deportations were mainly intended as death marches. Moreover, the policy of deportation surgically removed the Armenians from the rest of society and disposed of great masses of people with little or no destruction of property. The displacement process, therefore, also served as a major opportunity orchestrated by the CUP for the plundering of the material wealth of the Armenians and proved an effortless method of expropriating all of their immovable properties.

The government had made no provisions for the feeding of the deported population. Starvation took an enormous toll, much as exhaustion felled the elderly, the weaker and the ill. Deportees were denied food and water in a deliberate effort to hasten death. The survivors who reached northern Syria were collected at a number of concentration camps whence they were sent further south to die under the scorching sun of the desert. Through methodically organized deportation, systematic massacre, deliberate starvation and dehydration, and continuous brutalization, the Ottoman government reduced its Armenian population to a frightened mass of famished individuals whose families and communities had been destroyed in a single stroke.

Most of those implicated in war crimes evaded justice and many joined the new Nationalist Turkish movement led by Mustafa Kemal. In a series of military campaigns against Russian Armenia in 1920, against the refugee Armenians who had returned to Cilicia in southern Turkey in 1921, and against the Greek army that had occupied Izmir where the last intact Armenian community in Anatolia still existed in 1922, the Nationalist forces completed the process of eradicating the Armenians through further expulsions and massacres. When Turkey was declared a republic in 1923 and received international recognition, the Armenian Question and all related matters of resettlement and restitution were swept aside and soon forgotten.

In all, it is estimated that up to a million and a half Armenians perished at the hands of Ottoman and Turkish military and paramilitary forces and through atrocities intentionally inflicted to eliminate the Armenian demographic presence in Turkey. 

The surviving refugees spread around the world and eventually settled in some two dozen countries on all continents of the globe. Triumphant in its total annihilation of the Armenians and relieved of any obligations to the victims and survivors, the Turkish Republic adopted a policy of dismissing the charge of genocide and denying that the deportations and atrocities had constituted part of a deliberate plan to exterminate the Armenians. 

(Compiled with information from the Armenian National Institute)

Armenian community in Rojava calls for an end to Nagorno-Karabakh siege

The Armenian community in Rojava has called on the West to act against the siege of Nagorno-Karabakh. Since mid-December, the population there has been cut off from the outside world due to an Azerbaijani blockade.

The Armenian community in the autonomous region of North and East Syria has called on the international community to act against the siege of Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh). The Azerbaijani blockade of the region is threatening a humanitarian catastrophe there, the Armenian Society Council and the Women’s Council of Armenians in Rojava said at a rally in front of the UN mission in Qamishlo, adding that immediate action is long overdue. “The world must not allow another genocide against our people. Act humanely and with values in mind, and work for the release of the lifeline of Nagorno-Karabakh.”

The lifeline refers to the Lachin corridor, the only road connecting Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia. Since mid-December, Azerbaijan has blocked this artery. 120,000 people, including 30,000 children, have been cut off from the rest of the world and thus from any supply. Previously, Armenia delivered 400 tons of food to the region every day. But under the blockade, both the import of food and medicine and the transport, for example, of sick people out of Nagorno-Karabakh are impossible.

“This policy of starvation and siege with the aim of a complete occupation of Armenian Karabakh has already claimed its first fatalities,” said a joint statement by Armenian associations read out by Kohar Khaja Dorian for the Women’s Council and Imad Tatrian for the Societies Council. They said the blockade was in violation of international and humanitarian law and should be dealt with accordingly by the international community. “Over a hundred thousand people are trying to survive in precarious conditions in the middle of winter, without food, medical care or electricity. Geopolitical and geostrategic interests of the West must not lead to soft-pedalling on human rights.”

The Lachin corridor has been secured by Russian peacekeepers under a treaty since the supposed end of the Azerbaijani-Turkish war of aggression on Nagorno-Karabakh in 2020. Nevertheless, on 12 December, alleged “eco-activists” from Azerbaijan set up a roadblock there with the aim of stopping “illegal mining”. The aim was to demonstrate against the “exploitation of Azerbaijan’s gold and copper deposits by Armenia”, they said. The Armenian side, on the other hand, speaks of a state-coordinated action. Accordingly, the alleged eco-activists are members of the military and the secret service, and the fairy tale of environmental protection is only a pretext for a new invasion. Azerbaijan, they say, has never cared about environmental issues, and there is no such thing as a civil society in this authoritarian country.

Earlier this week, Armenia appealed to the International Court of Justice over the Nagorno-Karabakh siege to impose emergency measures against Azerbaijan and oblige it to lift the blockade. The government in Baku denies blocking the Lachin corridor to cut off supplies to the population. It accuses Armenia of transporting weapons and mines through the road, in violation of the terms of the ceasefire. A ruling by the UN court is expected in a few weeks.

Nubar Ozanyan Brigade: We remember our martyrs! The path they walked is our path!

We are a Brigade established to defend our lands and people in Northern and Eastern Syria, as well as to keep our Armenian identity and culture alive. As a military and revolutionary institution, it is our most important duty to commemorate our martyrs. As the Nubar Ozanyan Brigade, we declare the last week of January every year as Martyrs’ Week.

For this purpose, we respectfully commemorate all revolutionaries, communists, commanders and fighters who sacrificed their lives for the liberation of humanity, for the defense of their lands against imperialist and fascist attacks and who were martyred for this cause. The path they walked is our path.

Communists and revolutionaries who struggle for the liberation of all humanity are fighting against imperialism, feudalism, patriarchy and capitalist barbarism. They have not hesitated to sacrifice their lives against all injustices, wherever they are in the world. Comrades Rosa Luxemburg, Karl Liebknecht and Lenin, who were martryred in January, illuminated the parth of humanity against the imperialist capitalist order. Lenin, the leader of the October Revolution, proved that workers and laborers can have their own state. In this sense he is a great leader. At the same time, Meral Yakar and Ali Haydar Yıldız are the first martyrs of the Proletarian Party and were martyred this month. On the occasion of the Martyrs’ Week, we say that we follow their path and commemorate all communist leaders with respect.

The revolutionaries who fought for the freedom of oppressed nations have left us a great legacy in the defense of our homeland. In this sense, we commemorate Omar Mukhtar, who was a great symbol for the Libyan people, Georg Habbash (Al Hakim) who fought for the freedom of the Palestinian people throughout his life, Leyla Kasım, Sakine Cansız, Mazlum Doğan and Haki Karer who sacrificed their lives for the national freedom of Kurdistan. The struggle of oppressed nations against the oppression of imperialism and the attacks of fascism is just and legimate.

The Rojava Revolution was achieved after a great war. This revolution created a great opportunity for the coexistence of peoples. It created an opportunity for the liberation of women. For this purpose, we commemorate with great respect and gratitude our great commander Nubar Ozanyan, who came to Rojava to protect our people and fight against ISIS. In the person of our comrade Lorenzo Orsetti, who was martyred in this land with an internationalist spirit, all international fighters are a light on our path.

At the cost of the lives and blood of nearly 12 thousand fighters who sacrificed their lives for the freedom of Northern and Eastrern Syria, for the Rojava Revolution, ISIS was defeated and the Rojava Revolution could be realized. ISIS reaction still continues to be a danger. In this sense, our war against fascism and reaction still continues. One year ago, 121 of our friends were martyred in the Xweyran/Al Hasakeh attack. As a brigade, we martyred our comrade Oskan Bagiryan while defending our lands. Again, we commemorate with respect the martyred sons of the Armenian people in the person of comrade Dijwar, who martyred in the defense of these lands before the establishment of our brigade.

We promise our martyrs! We will defend the gains of the Rojava Revolution. We will continue to protect our people.

As the Armenian people, we have lived under harsh conditions in history. We have been subjected to great genocides. We have not forgotten our people who were subjected to genocide 107 years ago. May their souls rest in peace. Since then, we will not forget our great Armenian commanders, Andranik Ozanyan, Kevork Sergeant, Monte Melkonian, Leonid Azgaldyan, Levon Ekmekchian etc. who waged struggle with great sacrifices. Again, historically, Armenian revolutionaries who fought for the Armenian people and all oppressed people are an example for us. We remember Zabel Yeseyan, Anahit Aghabegyan, Zarouhi Kavaljan, Shushanik Kurgunyan, Hayrabet Honca, Armenak Bakır, Manuel Demir, Nubar Yalımyan with respect. We will never forget Hrant Dink, who enlightened our path with his works on Muslim Armenians and was murdered by Turkish fascism. Today, the Armenian people are defending themselves in Artsakh against the joint attacks of the Turkish and Azerbaijani states and are martyred. Anush Apikyan was brutally murdered against these fascist attacks. Anush Apikyan is a role model for Armenian women fighters.

The revolutionary life of our Nubar Ozanyan was decisive in the formation of us as a brigade. It is of course his revolutionary and communist line that brought him to Northern and Eastern Syria. The Party of the Proletariat shaped Commander Nubar. Thanks to the steps taken by leader Ibrahim Kaypakkaya, the founder and leader of this Party, the revolutionary struggle in Turkey has experienced a great breakthrough. Leader Kaypakkaya inflicted a great defeat on fascism with his ideology, thoughts and revolutionary practice. As the Brigade, we take Comrade Kaypakkaya as a guide in our struggle against fascism and reaction. Thanks to him, we can analyze the enemy better. We are more determined in our struggle. On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the murder of Leader Kaypakkaya, we commemorate him with respect and gratitude. He is our torch.

Our martyrs to illuminate the path we walk!

Martyrs of the revolution are immortal!

We will never forget them.

Nubar Ozanyan Brigade


An interview with the Armenian Social Council in Qamishlo

What is your name? What is your job and the work of the Armenian Council?

Kohar Khajadourian (co-chair of the Armenian Social Council in Qamishlo): We have been working for seven years for this council. After 3 years the General Council was formed in Heseke, and it was recognized by the Autonomous Administration. On this basis, branches were opened in Qamishlo and Deir ez-Zor, and one will soon be opened in Raqqa.

In general, our work focuses on the social, cultural, and historical issues, such as the history of the displacement of Armenians in the past. When the Armenians came to Syria, Kurdish and Arab people treated and accepted us very well. Now we are working with the Armenian diaspora to learn our roots, history, language, and culture: this is the main work of the Council. 

What are your political orientations?

We do not have any political orientation, as I said, our orientations are cultural and social. We are not against anyone, neither regime nor others. We align with all peoples and support the fraternity of peoples. We work for the good of all peoples and also the good of the Armenian people.

There was a conference of Armenian women, what was the purpose of this conference and what is its effect?

That was the first conference of the Armenian Women’s Union. The main objective of this union was to support women to obtain their rights, and to rid them of male domination and outdated customs and traditions in society. The Armenian woman is like any woman in society. There is no difference, she faces a lot of pressure, and we help her to be stronger. We provide women with job opportunities so that they can become more economically self-reliant.

The Armenian Social Council and the Women’s Committee organized this conference. The council is composed of committees, such as the Women’s Committee, the Culture Committee, the Education and Training Committee, the Culture and Art Committee, the Youth Committee, the Finance and Statistics Committee, and we are also working on the census of the Armenian diaspora.

What are the problems facing Armenian women?

This conference was for the Armenian women who were under oppression and tyranny. Among the problems facing Armenian women today are the marriage of minors, deprivation of education, choosing a life partner as well as physical violence, psychological violence, and polygamy.

As we know at this stage there is work on the social contract. What is the role of the Armenians in the social contract?

Before the advent of the Autonomous Administration the Armenian people were not acknowledged, we were known as Assyrians. After that, we as the Armenian people saw that we also have the right to be part of this development. Certainly, we will have a great role in the social contract; we will demand our rights and the rights of language and culture. We must have a role, so decisions are taken as a whole people. 

On the Armenian Independence Day, are there relations between you and Armenia at the political, social and cultural levels?

Before the revolution, the Armenian people were a neutral side. As I said, we are part of this homeland but in the past the Armenian people did not join any parties, for example the Baath Party, nor in other politics.

Armenian schools were named in Armenian language, but after the advent of the Baath regime, the names of the schools were changed to Arabic. After the establishment of the Armenian Council here, people began to get involved, and many Armenians took their sides within the military forces, in addition to their involvement in the ranks of the military forces within the Autonomous Administration. We have a military column for Armenian women too.

The number of Armenians in northeastern Syria was approximately about three thousand families before 2011, from Deir Ezzor to the city of Derik, but it is now around 400 families. There are many Armenians who say that their homeland is Armenia, but do not go to Armenia because of the bad economic situation.

We hear about the existence of peace between Turkey, Azerbaijan and Armenia. What is the council’s opinion on this issue?

We do not expect that there will be peace between us and Turkey, especially from the Turkish side, because of their practices towards us. Turkey cannot be trusted, and the choice for peace is theirs to make. They are a brutal and strong state with injustice, and Armenia does not have the necessary strength to recover its lands, but if Russia is honest and considers Armenia a part of it in all respects, then the project of Turkey will fail.

What are the council’s goals for the next 10 years?

The goal of the Armenian Council is to help the Armenian people live a good life, as much as possible, and to have a presence like any other people in all aspects, whether military or cultural. I expect that the next ten years will be better if all minorities and all sects obtain their rights; then the situation can improve on all levels.

Armenian Social Assembly inaugurated in Deir ez-Zor

Members of the Armenian Community Council in the city of Hesekê, civil society organizations and members of the Military Council, as well as many tribal leaders attended the opening ceremony.

The ceremony started with a minute’s silence, and Deir ez-Zor Armenian Community Council president Mihemed El-Ilewi said: “Due to the brutality of the Ottoman state, Armenians migrated from this region and from many parts of Anatolia to different parts of the world 107 years ago.”

Mihemed El-Ilewi thanked the people of Deir ez-Zor for helping the Armenian people who came to the region and said: “The Armenian people have not forgotten the help of the people of Deir ez-Zor.”

El-Ilewi continued: “Your presence here gives morale to all Armenian citizens in Syria in general and all Armenians in Northern and Eastern Syria in particular.” He thanked the Autonomous Administration for their hard work in opening the council.

Zaim Al Mehmud, spokesman for the Syrian Future Party, said: “There is no difference between the components of the region, we are all united against projects that undermine social cohesion.”

Deir ez-Zor Civil Assembly Women’s Committee member Hind El-Ehmed said: “The opening of the Armenian Social Assembly in Deir ez-Zor reinforces the fraternity of the people after the region’s liberation from ISIS.”