Shhh! Let’s keep this strictly between us, okay? “Talk about extreme, militant Islamists and the atrocities that they have perpetrated globally might undercut the positive achievements that we Catholics have attained in our inter-religious dialogue with devout Muslims.” — Robert McManus, Roman Catholic Bishop of Worcester, Massachusetts, February 8, 2013
“Activist: Rebels Robbing Homes, Desecrating Churches in Kessab,” from the Armenian Weekly, March 23:
LATAKIA, Syria (A.W.)—Around 400 families from Kessab have taken refuge in Latakia following attacks on their town, while the fate of several individuals who have stayed behind remains unclear, the Armenian Weekly has learned.
“Many Armenian families are staying with relatives and friends, while others have sought refuge in the Armenian Church and the church’s hall,” said Syrian Armenian community activist Nerses Sarkissian during a phone interview with Weekly editor Khatchig Mouradian.
“The Aleppo Armenian Prelacy as well as the Red Crescent are providing relief and assistance to these families in Latakia,” Sarkissian added.
Extremist fighters engage in robbery and desecration
The fighters, mostly from the extremist Nusra Front, who have entered Kessab are desecrating churches, pillaging houses, and destroying government buildings, Sarkissian told the Weekly. A few Syrian Armenians have been unable to leave Kessab, and their fate is unclear, he added.
Sarkissian underlined that the fighters came from the Turkish side of the border and are receiving support from the Turkish military. He noted that the injured among them are being transported back to Turkey to receive medical attention.
Assad ‘reassures’ Aram Catholicos
Syria’s ambassador to Lebanon visited Catholicos Aram I in Antelias on March 22, conveying to him Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s assurances that peace will be restored in Kessab.
A delegation of priests left Antelias for Latakia on March 23 to assess needs and express the Catholicosate’s solidarity with the displaced population of Kessab….