Incensed by Turkey’s incursion into Idlib which has hindered the Syrian Army’s attempt to liberate the militant-held province, the Syrian parliament officially recognized the mass murder of Armenians a century ago as genocide.
The People’s Council (Majlis al-Sha’ab) adopted a resolution Thursday that “condemns and recognizes the genocide committed against the Armenians by the Ottoman state at the start of the twentieth century.”
The deaths of an estimated 1.5 million ethnic Armenians in 1915-1917, were cited as an example by Raphael Lemkin, the scholar who coined the term “genocide.” Although the modern Turkish republic came into being by renouncing the Ottoman Empire, Ankara has steadfastly denied that the plight of the Armenians qualified as genocide, and threatened sanctions and reprisals against any government that dared recognize it as such – including the US.
As some Syrians pointed out, the government in Damascus has commemorated the suffering of Armenians for decades, but had not officially moved to recognize the genocide out of fear of offending Turkey.
Syria has done a lot to Armenians since the Armenian Genocide, and even though this was a necessary step, shame on Syria it took her this long to officially recognize it. Better late than never. Syria didn’t do it earlier for fear of retaliation from Turkey. https://t.co/6FFxdmHHtY — Bassem (@BBassem7) February 13, 2020
Syria recognizes the Armenian Genocide long time ago, since the days of Hafez Assad when he visited Armenia and the Genocide memorial in Yerevan in 1992. But there was no law by the parliament. pic.twitter.com/3azBRknxWD — Kevork Almassian (@KevorkAlmassian) February 13, 2020
The recognition was triggered by Turkey’s latest incursion into Idlib, the last Syrian province controlled by militants affiliated with Al-Qaeda and other groups that have sought to overthrow the government in Damascus since 2011. As the Syrian Army advanced, Ankara sent 1,000 troops to the province, which ended up exchanging fire with government troops.
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After 13 Turkish soldiers were killed in the clashes, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that if any more Turkish soldiers get injured, he will strike “anywhere in Syria.”
The Foreign Ministry in Ankara reacted to the parliamentary resolution by declaring it a “picture of hypocrisy” by a “regime that has massacred its own people for years.”
Today Syria officially recognized the Armenian Genocide that was committed by the Ottomans.When will Turkey apologize for all the massacres their ancestors have committed throughout history against the people of the region?Neo-Ottomans like Erdogan take pride in those crimes. https://t.co/P8pVlFsJpp — هادي نصرالله (@HadiNasrallah) February 13, 2020
Fewer than thirty countries recognize the massacre of Armenians as genocide. The most recent recognition prior to Syria’s was by the US Congress, in anger over Turkey’s invasion of areas in northern Syria held by Kurdish militias allied with Washington last October. As the US continues to rely on Ankara in its efforts at “regime change” in Damascus, however, President Donald Trump has held off on signing the congressional resolutions.
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