The plight of Armenian refugees in Syria poses a daunting question:  what will be the fate of the tens of thousands of Armenian refugees who had previously inhabited Syria following their flight from persecution and genocide at the hand of the Turkish government in 1915?

At it stands now, most Armenian-Syrian refugees are in a large camp in Lebanon, but their fate hangs in the balance.  Notwithstanding the obvious fact that the civil war in Syria could last a very long time, the reality is that they might never be able to go back to their homes. 

The longer the conflict lasts, the less probable a return to Syria becomes. 

The Armenian diaspora to Syria begun after they were driven out of Turkey in 1915.  An estimated one million Armenians were killed during the Ottoman genocide that spurred the diaspora. Until the civil war, they lived mostly in Damascus and Aleppo, and in Lebanon's Beirut.  Their quarters had schools, churches and cultural associations that allowed them to remain a vibrant community.  

As hard as it is to say, Assad's regime did one thing right:  it protected Christians.  Now the future of over 100,000 Syrian Armenians is uncertain.  

Many Armenians are already trying to emigrate and find refuge abroad.  There is no work in Lebanon and other refugee camps location. Their only chance of survival is to get out and find work somewhere. 

The new stark prospect reopens a deep wound in Armenian society.  Already torn to shreds by the 1915 genocide, they are looking again at the prospect of dissolution of their once thriving community in Syria.  Again, they are facing a diaspora, one in which there will be an even wider dispersal of the remaining middle Eastern Armenians. 

There are people in Lebanon who are trying to organize aid for the Armenian refugees in Beirut, so that they do not have to disperse to the far corners of the world.  These organizers in fact, are trying to provide for the refugees and to convince them to stay.  

Source : Deutsche Welle/ 12.30.13

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