Activist: Rebels Robbing Homes, Desecrating Churches in Kessab

Via Veterans Today — March 24, 2014

Member of Free Syrian Army posing with Looted Christian cross and priests robes. Click to enlarge

[Once again the Armenians, after retreating to what appeared to be a place of safety... trouble follows them there. They continue to be a cursed people despite their minding their own business and keeping a low profile.
A major part of this Syrian Takfiri scourge has been the key role that robbing, looting and raping has played. Once an area has been 'worked over' and cleaned out, the scumbags have to find somewhere else to steal more stuff, to keep their bonuses flowing and to have some 'running money' for it that becomes necessary... Jim W. Dean]

Several Armenians unable to leave town

Armenian Weekly — March 23, 2014

LATAKIA, Syria (A.W.)—Around 400 families from Kessab have taken refuge in Latakia following attacks on their town, while the fate of several individuals who have stayed behind remains unclear, the Armenian Weekly has learned.

Rebels in Kessab

“Many Armenian families are staying with relatives and friends, while others have sought refuge in the Armenian Church and the church’s hall,” said Syrian Armenian community activist Nerses Sarkissian during a phone interview with Weekly editor Khatchig Mouradian. “The Aleppo Armenian Prelacy as well as the Red Crescent are providing relief and assistance to these families in Latakia,” Sarkissian added.

Rebels engage in robbery and desecration

Rebels who have entered Kessab are desecrating churches, pillaging houses, and destroying government buildings, Sarkissian told the Weekly. A few Syrian Armenians have been unable to leave Kessab, and their fate is unclear, he added.

Sarkissian underlined that the rebels came from the Turkish side of the border and are receiving support from the Turkish military. He noted that the injured among them are being transported back to Turkey to receive medical attention.

Assad ‘reassures’ Aram Catholicos

Syria’s ambassador to Lebanon visited Catholicos Aram I in Antelias on March 22, conveying to him Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s assurances that peace will be restored in Kessab.

A delegation of priests left Antelias for Latakia on March 23 to assess needs and express the Catholicosate’s solidarity with the displaced population of Kessab.

Turkey downs Syrian fighter jet

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed reports that the Turkish military had shot down Syrian fighter jet. The fighter jet crashed in Kessab. According to Ankara, it came under fire after crossing the Turkish border.

Meanwhile, clashes continued. “According to a military source, units of the armed forces have since morning been directing fatal strikes to the terrorist groups which infiltrated the border from Turkey in Kassab area, inflicting heavy losses upon them,” reported the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) on March 23.

Perched in the northwestern corner of Syria, near the border with Turkey, Kessab had, until very recently, evaded major battles between the army and rebels. Many Syrians had taken refuge there because of the relative calm in the area over the past three years.

Editing: Jim W. Dean and Erica P. Wissinger

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