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#1 Yervant1

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Posted 28 March 2014 - 09:40 AM

Armenian National Committee of America - Western Region
104 North Belmont Street, Suite 200
Glendale, California 91206
Phone: 818.500.1918
media@ancawr.org
www.ancawr.org

PRESS RELEASE                    March 27, 2014
Contact: Elen Asatryan
Cell: 818.523.8389 or 818.859.2421
Email: Elen@ancawr.org


Community and Religious Leaders Demand Immediate U.S. Action to Stop
Turkey's Support for al-Qaeda Affiliated Terrorist Group Attacks on
Armenians and Innocent Civilians in Kessab, Syria

What: Armenian American religious and community leaders will be joined by
human rights activists at a press conference to call on President Obama to
press NATO ally, Turkey, to stop facilitating ongoing attacks by Al-Qaeda
affiliated foreign fighters against the civilian population of the
predominantly Armenian region of Kessab, Syria. Following the press
conference, the Armenian Youth Federation, Kessab Educational Association
of Los Angeles and community organizations will hold a protest at the same
site.

When: Friday, March 28, 2014, 2:00PM

Where: Outside of Turkish Consulate
6300 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048

Who: Armenian National Committee of America; Armenian National Committee of
America Western Region; Armenian Youth Federation; Kessab Educational
Association of Los Angeles; Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Krekorian
and Community Leaders. Armenian American community members with immediate
family who fled the crisis in Kessab, Syria will be available to speak to
media.

Background:

Armenian Americans from throughout the Southland have united in speaking
out against the recent brutal incursion, launched across the Turkish
border, by al-Qaeda affiliated terrorist groups against the innocent
civilian population of the historically Armenian town of Kessab, Syria.
Many Armenian Americans have heard horrifying accounts from their
relatives, who were forced to flee at moment's notice to avoid capture or
slaughter by extremist forces.

Located in the northwestern corner of Syria, near the border with Turkey,
Kessab had, until very recently, avoided major battles in the Syrian
conflict. The local Armenian population had increased in recently years
with the city serving as a safe-haven for those fleeing from the war-torn
cities of Yacubiye, Rakka and Aleppo.

The area had been relatively peaceful until March 21st, when Turkey
reportedly allowed hundreds of radical foreign fighters to cross its border
and attack the civilian population. ABC and CBS news are reporting that
the extremists are part of the al-Nusra Front, which is a wing of al-Qaeda,
a United States designated terrorist group.

Within days of the onslaught launched from Turkey, nearly the entire
population of Christian Armenians has fled to neighboring Latakia and
Bassit to avoid slaughter. Civilians, who were not able to flee, have
reportedly been taken hostage, while churches and homes are being
systematically desecrated and looted. Further, there are reports that
injured extremists are returning to Turkey for medical treatment.

Turkey's facilitation of al-Qaeda affiliated foreign fighters and their
attacks on innocent civilians in Syria undermines ongoing U.S. and
international efforts to bring peace to a country ravaged by violence for
far too long. For Armenians in the region and around the world, Turkey's
actions are a horrifying and bitter reminder of the genocide committed
against the Armenian, Pontian and Syriac communities by Ottoman Turkish
authorities from 1915-1923.

The United States has the power to stop Turkey's provocations and
assistance to these radical groups and send a clear message that targeted
military strikes against innocent civilians is unacceptable under any
circumstances and a clear violation of international law.

The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) and the Armenian-American
communities across the United States have urged Secretary of State John
Kerry, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Turkey Francis Ricciardone, and
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power to immediately press
Turkey to stop facilitating attacks on civilians in Kessab and investigate
Turkey's reported assistance to foreign fighters associated with
U.S.-designated terrorist groups. They have further requested assistance
in directing need-based humanitarian aid to the victims of the onslaught on
Kessab as soon as possible.

Separately, the ANCA has been in communication with members of the House
Committee on Intelligence, House Foreign Affairs Committee and Senate
Foreign Relations Committee, and has issued an action alert to urge that
Congress use its influence to immediately end Turkey's role in the
destruction of Kessab.

Southern California U.S. Representatives Adam Schiff and Brad Sherman have
already issued statements condemning the al-Qaeda inspired attacks and
urged the State Department to take immediate action.

On Thursday, March 27, 2014, a delegation of Armenian American community
and religious representatives met with the State Department and submitted a
series of requests for prompt U.S. action.

The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region is the largest
and most influential Armenian American grassroots advocacy organization in
the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of
offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and
affiliated organizations around the country, the ANCA-WR advances the
concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.

 





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