Azad-Hye, Dubai
April 8 2005

Syrian Armenians: Sheikhs of Syrian Arab tribes visit Armenia


AZAD-HYE (Dubai, 8 April 2005): Three years ago in 24/4/2002, the
Armenians of Aleppo and Northern Syria publicly honoured the heads of
Arab tribes of the Syrian Al Jazeera Region (located between the
Euphrates river and the Syrian-Iraqi border, in North-Eastern Syria),
whose forefathers have rescued many Armenians during the Genocide of
1915.

The celebration took place in the cultural center of the city of Deir
Ez-Zor, known to the Armenians as the final post (a sort of Armenian
Auschwitz) in the annihilation campaign orchestrated by the Ottoman
Turks.

The descendants of the Arab tribes were bestowed with letters of
gratitude and symbolic gifts commemorating their heroic efforts
during the WWI difficult times, when they defied government orders
and sheltered the surviving Armenians.

The Mufti of Der Ezzor expressed his sorrow on the events of 1915
that plagued the city and the surroundings. Some places in the Syrian
Al Jazeera Region carry names stemmed from the atrocities that the
Armenians faced (see below).

See text about this ceremony in Arabic language.

On 29th March 2005, almost three years after the honorary ceremony in
Syria, the same heads of the Syrian Arab tribes were visiting
Armenia, to take part in the official ceremonies dedicated to the
Genocide anniversary.

Qatari English daily "The Peninsula" reported in its 3rd April 2005
issue that Mohammad Al Razzaka (61), one of the tribal leaders said
in an interview: "Armenians who grew up with us under our roof told
us about the genocide. We came to Armenia in order to honor the
memory of thousands of innocent people". [Click Read More]

Al Razzaka laid flowers at the Genocide memorial in Yerevan. "Our
fathers and grandfathers not only helped the Armenians survive but
also taught them to farm since most of the refugees were craftsmen.
We are proud that we helped thousands of innocent people survive and
live through this tragedy", he added.

Nawaf Ragheb Al Bashir, from the Al Bagara tribe, said: `My
grandfather used to tell me how in those far away years, thousands of
Armenians crossed the desert without food and water. There were so
many killed and injured that one village was called Margateh, which
means a collection of corpses, and another was called Shatateh which
means genocide' he added, expressing hope that the Armenian people
who has a long history and is gifted with creative abilities will
reconstruct his homeland in a short period of time and achieve
well-being and prosperity.

The visit of the Syrian Arab tribesmen was one of a series of
seminars, visits and ceremonies that authorities in Armenia planned
to mark the 90th anniversary of the start of the killings, leading up
to the official genocide remembrance day on April 24.

The tribe leaders met with the Prime Minister, the Ministers of
Foreign Affairs, Defence, Agriculture, Health, Labor and Social
Security, with representatives of the National Assembly factions, as
well as with students of the Oriental Science Department of Yerevan
State University.

Before their return to Syria on 3rd April 2005 they met also with the
Syrian students currently studying in Yerevan, visited the town of
Abovian, where a large number of Armenian repatriates from Syria
live. They also visited the Matenadaran (the library of manuscripts
and ancient books) and Holy Echmiadzin where they were received by
the Catholicos of All Armenians.

Jirair Reisian, head of the delegation of the Armenian Church of
Aleppo and environs said to Noyan Tapan News Agency that the purpose
of this visit organized at the initiative of the Armenian community
of Aleppo is to pay homage once again to the leaders of the tribes
that provided shelter to the Armenians who had survived the genocide
and reached the Syrian land, and to give them an opportunity to
become acquainted with Armenia and the Armenian people.

Head of the "Bagara Al Jabal" tribe Sheikh Abdul Suahab Isa Suleiman
noted that the Armenian community of Syria plays a prominent role in
the country's social, economic and political life, with the Armenian
deputies always being included in the Syrian parliament.

Head of Al Harb tribe Sheikh Hasan Oubeid Al Khalil called on all the
states and international organizations to reconsider their approach
to the Armenian genocide and to meet the just demands of the Armenian
people.

In their 1st April 2005 press conference, the leaders of the Syrian
tribes said that "All the Arabs know about the Genocide and they have
done many services to the Armenian nation". Asked why Syria has not
yet officially recognized the Genocide, they said that in that issue
Syria is like Armenia: "There has been no need to recognize an issue
which is testified to by every stone of the country".

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress