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ICC Note: Reports estimate that 7,000 Christian-Armenians have immigrated to Armenia from Syria since the start of the country’s civil war, USA Today reports. On Tuesday, Asia News reported that an Armenian priest and an Orthodox clergyman were kidnapped in Aleppo. Due to rising persecution, some organizations believe that a total of 200,000 Syrian Christians have fled the country or have been internally displaced.
By Diana Markosian
2/14/2013 Armenia (USA Today) – Sarkiss Rshdouni escaped the fighting in the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo months ago but cannot shake memories of what he witnessed.
“I was with a friend when I heard gunshots,” said Rshdouni, who is among hundreds of thousands of people who have fled the war in his country. “It was fast — second by second, the sound was getting closer. I saw mass shooting, people running.”
Aleppo is home to more than 80% of Syria’s Armenian community, and those who are still there remain at the center of the battle for control of the country.

The uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad, which erupted nearly two years ago, has left more than 2 million people internally displaced and pushed 650,000 more to seek refuge abroad in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan.
Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, has been engulfed in fighting for months between government forces and opposition militias, including al-Qaeda-allied extremists. People there are dealing with shortages of food, medicine and electricity during the coldest winter in the Middle East in two decades.
The Christian-Armenian community in Syria is relatively small — between 60,000 and 100,000 people according to estimates — but its history has added to its unease. Armenians in Syria are descendants of people who fled to Syria after escaping a genocide against Armenians in Ottoman Turkey in World War I.
Many worry the same can happen in Syria, where the Christian Armenians are again at the mercy of Muslim factions at war, and they are desperate to get out.
“Syrian Air has rerouted all flights because of the conflict in Aleppo,” said Gevorg Abrahamyan, press secretary of Zvartonts International Airport in Armenia. “There’s a flight arriving once a week now from Latakia (in Syria) to Yerevan.”

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