FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 10, 2019
Contact: Sevag Belian (613) 235-2622
OTTAWA – The Armenian National Committee of Canada strongly condemns Turkey’s military attack on Syria and calls on the international community to restrain Turkey from making an already dire situation immeasurably worse.
Yesterday, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Hon. Chrystia Freeland made the government’s position clear in a mid-day tweet, saying “Canada firmly condemns Turkey’s military incursion into Syria today…We call for the protection of civilians and on all parties to the respect their obligations under international law…”
Commenting on the issue, ANCC co-president Hrag Tarakdjian said “We welcome Minister Freeland’s and Canada’s firm position on the issue, but we ask them to remain vigilant and be ready to act, because Turkey simply cannot be trusted and civilians could very well pay the price of this senseless aggression”
Earlier, the ANCC sent a letter to Minister Freeland and the US Chargé d’Affaires in Ottawa, Mr. Richard Mills, expressing its profound concern, regarding the sudden withdrawal of US troops from Syria.
In the letter, ANCC co-presidents, Hrag Tarakdjian and Shahen Mirakian said “At a time of uncertainty and danger, such an ill-considered decision by the US President is a clear abandonment of America’s key allies in the region and a reckless desertion of the ethnoreligious minorities, including Armenians, that have called Syria home for centuries”
Later reports indicated that Turkish airstrikes had already hit civilian targets and a number of casualties were reported. The towns of Tel-Abyad and Qamishly – where Armenian and Assyrian minorities live alongside the local Kurdish majority – were amongst the towns that were hit heavily by Turkish forces. In the Aftermath of the Armenian Genocide, Qamishly was one of the first settlements established by the survivors of the Armenian and Assyrian Genocides.
“While Turkey might assure that civilians will not be targeted, the reality on the ground suggest otherwise” said Shahen Mirakian.
“Erdogan simply cannot be trusted and the international community must act” he added.
“We urge you to remain vigilant and work alongside our international partners to raise this important matter and prevent what will inevitably lead to bloodshed and destruction” concluded the letter to Minister Freeland.
The ANCC is the largest and the most influential Armenian-Canadian grassroots human rights organization. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout Canada and affiliated organizations around the world, the ANCC actively advances the concerns of the Armenian-Canadian community on a broad range of issues and works to eliminate abuses of human rights throughout Canada and the world.