Community and Religious Leaders Demand Immediate U.S. Action to Stop Turkey’s Support for al-Qaeda Affiliated Terrorist Group Attacks on Armenians and Innocent Civilians in Kessab, Syria


Community and Religious Leaders Demand Immediate U.S. Action to Stop Turkey’s Support for al-Qaeda Affiliated Terrorist Group Attacks on Armenians and Innocent Civilians in Kessab, Syria

What: Armenian American religious and community leaders will be joined by human rights activists at a press conference to call on President Obama to press NATO ally, Turkey, to stop facilitating ongoing attacks by Al-Qaeda affiliated foreign fighters against the civilian population of the predominantly Armenian region of Kessab, Syria. Following the press conference, the Armenian Youth Federation, Kessab Educational Association of Los Angeles and community organizations will hold a protest at the same site.

When: Friday, March 28, 2014, 2:00PM

Where: Outside of Turkish Consulate, 6300 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048

Who: Armenian National Committee of America; Armenian National Committee of America Western Region; Armenian Youth Federation; Kessab Educational Association of Los Angeles; Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Krekorian and Community Leaders. Armenian American community members with immediate family who fled the crisis in Kessab, Syria will be available to speak to media.


Armenian Americans from throughout the Southland have united in speaking out against the recent brutal incursion, launched across the Turkish border, by al-Qaeda affiliated terrorist groups against the innocent civilian population of the historically Armenian town of Kessab, Syria. Many Armenian Americans have heard horrifying accounts from their relatives, who were forced to flee at moment’s notice to avoid capture or slaughter by extremist forces.

Located in the northwestern corner of Syria, near the border with Turkey, Kessab had, until very recently, avoided major battles in the Syrian conflict. The local Armenian population had increased in recently years with the city serving as a safe-haven for those fleeing from the war-torn cities of Yacubiye, Rakka and Aleppo.

The area had been relatively peaceful until March 21st, when Turkey reportedly allowed hundreds of radical foreign fighters to cross its border and attack the civilian population. ABC and CBS news are reporting that the extremists are part of the al-Nusra Front, which is a wing of al-Qaeda, a United States designated terrorist group.

Within days of the onslaught launched from Turkey, nearly the entire population of Christian Armenians has fled to neighboring Latakia and Bassit to avoid slaughter. Civilians, who were not able to flee, have reportedly been taken hostage, while churches and homes are being systematically desecrated and looted. Further, there are reports that injured extremists are returning to Turkey for medical treatment.

Turkey’s facilitation of al-Qaeda affiliated foreign fighters and their attacks on innocent civilians in Syria undermines ongoing U.S. and international efforts to bring peace to a country ravaged by violence for far too long. For Armenians in the region and around the world, Turkey’s actions are a horrifying and bitter reminder of the genocide committed against the Armenian, Pontian and Syriac communities by Ottoman Turkish authorities from 1915-1923.

The United States has the power to stop Turkey’s provocations and assistance to these radical groups and send a clear message that targeted military strikes against innocent civilians is unacceptable under any circumstances and a clear violation of international law.

The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) and the Armenian-American communities across the United States have urged Secretary of State John Kerry, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Turkey Francis Ricciardone, and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power to immediately press Turkey to stop facilitating attacks on civilians in Kessab and investigate Turkey’s reported assistance to foreign fighters associated with U.S.-designated terrorist groups. They have further requested assistance in directing need-based humanitarian aid to the victims of the onslaught on Kessab as soon as possible.

Separately, the ANCA has been in communication with members of the House Committee on Intelligence, House Foreign Affairs Committee and Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and has issued an action alert to urge that Congress use its influence to immediately end Turkey’s role in the destruction of Kessab.

Southern California U.S. Representatives Adam Schiff and Brad Sherman have already issued statements condemning the al-Qaeda inspired attacks and urged the State Department to take immediate action.

On Thursday, March 27, 2014, a delegation of Armenian American community and religious representatives met with the State Department and submitted a series of requests for prompt U.S. action.

The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANCA-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.