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ICC Note: More than 2,000 Christians have fled their homes in the Syrian city of Kessab. Extremist fighters, largely from the al-Nusra Front took the city, that until now had been relatively peaced. Many of the families who fled have been forced to stay in the church in the city of Latakia or attempt to find housing with relatives. Kessab is a largely Christian city and witnesses reported that the churches in the city were desecrated by the militants as they took control.
03/26/2014 Syria (Armenian Weekly) – —A delegation of priest from the Catholicosate of Cilicia who had visited Latakia to assess the needs of Kessab Armenians and express solidarity returned to Antelias after the Sunday Badarak.
According to the delegation, the local Armenian community, the International Red Cross, and the Red Crescent are providing assistance to those who have sought refuge in the city. An estimated 2,000 Kessab Armenians are currently in Latakia.
“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.

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