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Relocation With A Reason: Some Syrian-Armenian Families Find Advanta

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  • Relocation With A Reason: Some Syrian-Armenian Families Find Advanta

    FEATURES | 20.03.13 | 15:47


    Kashatagh region capital Berdzor
    ArmeniaNow reporter

    Numerous Syrian-Armenians have moved to Armenia because of the war
    in Syria, many among them further moved and have settled in the
    internationally unrecognized Nagorno Karabakh Republic's Kashatagh

    This southwestern part of Karabakh has now 23 Syrian families totaling
    71 people. The first family moved there much earlier, in 2008, even
    before the war broke out. The majority of families migrated from
    northeastern Syrian Qamishli city on the border with Turkey.

    Enlarge Photo Vardan Poghosyan with his wife

    Vardan Poghosyan's family is one of them. He moved to Kashatagh
    together with his wife and 18 month-old daughter. They live in the
    region's capital Berdzor. Both are accountants and have jobs, and
    soon will be allotted an apartment.

    "It was my decision to come directly to Karabakh. Rather than going to
    Europe or America, why not come and live in our homeland. Of course,
    there are many difficulties, but we have to endure. After all, we
    have lived in a foreign country more than enough," Vardan, 29, told
    ArmeniaNow, adding that following their example his brother Serob,
    too, moved there with his family, in-laws and relatives.

    Some of the Syrian-Armenian families live in Kovsakan, the second
    largest city, and Ishkanadzor of Kashatagh region. Robert Matevosyan,
    head of the re-settlement department of Kashatagh administrative
    district, says the first families who had moved to Kovsakan now
    have private houses, for the others a multi-storey building has been
    renovated and apartments have been allotted.

    "In Berdzor they still live in the guesthouse, soon will have their
    own apartments provided to them free of charge with an ownership
    right. Those families that will adapt and stay, will later be given
    the property ownership certificate," Matevosyan told ArmeniaNow.

    "People with professions are now employed, rural families have been
    given land lots. The state has granted agricultural loans with zero
    interest rate. People have sown wheat, oats, and will return the
    money when they harvest the crops."

    In 1992 (during the war) Armenian forces took control over Berdzor
    (Lachin) town and the Lachin corridor, which was also called the
    "road of life", since it was the only land communication between
    Karabakh and Armenia. Zangelan, Kubatlu and part of Lachin (which are
    among the seven disputed regions around former Autonomous Republic
    of Nagorno Karabakh have been re-arranged into Kashatagh region with
    3,376 total area, and the re-settlement of this area is of
    strategic importance. By the 2011 data of the NKR labor and social
    affairs ministry, 8,500 people reside in Kashatagh.

    Matevosyan says they are expecting another stream of people to

    "We got the applications a while ago. Some 4-5 families have come
    to learn the terms. In any case we are ready to accept everybody. We
    continue building new houses and repairing the old ones. They adapt,
    live overcoming the challenges. There are language issues, but they
    are being overcome as well," says Matevosyan.

    Not only the NKR authorities, but also Kashatagh, the Tufenkian
    Foundation, Assistance to Self-Determined Artsakh charitable
    foundations are supporting the Syrian Armenians to settle in Karabakh,
    as well as Help Your Brother relief initiative for Syrian-Armenians.

    According to Diaspora ministry data, some 6,000 families have moved
    to Armenia forced out by the military actions in Syria, 300 among
    them reside in the provinces of Armenia.

    From: Baghdasarian