Torn By War: Syrian Armenians have little hope for imminent peace despite Russian air strikes

After nearly five years of war, even now, when Russia is trying to solve the problem through air strikes, Syria’s future remains uncertain. Equally uncertain is the future of the Syrian community of Armenians.

The Syrian-Armenian community, which was one of the largest and most powerful in the Armenian Diaspora, was established by those Armenians, who, trying to escape from the 1915 Turkish massacres, found refuge in neighboring Syria. But the Syrian civil war, which is still raging, has torn the solid community into pieces and dispersed it throughout the world.

Even Russia’s air strikes are not enough to regulate the situation in a short time, because the situation is very serious, Sergey Minasyan, deputy head of the Yerevan-based Caucasus Institute and political scientist, told media on Monday.

“The Russian air force has yet had no losses of military equipment and military specialists, but we can see that the Syrian army has still not gained any major success. Heavy fighting is going on, and it is still uncertain whether or not they will succeed only through air strikes,” he said.

According to the expert, sooner or later there will be a question of intensifying the air component, i.e. increasing the number of aircraft, helicopters, ground support in Syria. The other question is whether Russia will participate in that operation with at least some limited format.

“Although Russia’s military-political leadership has repeatedly stated that participation in the ground operation is not being considered at the moment, nothing is impossible,” said Minasyan.

Meanwhile, because of the bombing of the Armenian-populated New Village district in Aleppo, the number of the Armenians killed in the Syrian civil war has reached 127 people.

“Life in Aleppo has become unbearable in all its aspects. Along with insecurity, lack of water and electricity, intolerable deficit made almost everyone needy, and people have the right to leave. A lot of people wished they, too, had left like many others several years ago. However, the number of those who want to stay is also not small,” Syrian-Armenian Manvel Keshishian wrote in social media.

Although precise data is not available, according to some estimates, about 5,000 Armenians have remained in Syria instead of former 70,000. Before the start of the civil war more than 50,000 Armenians lived in Aleppo.

“Life in Aleppo is somehow going on. Sometimes they stop bombing us for three or two weeks, and we become hopeful and optimist, then it is followed by pessimistic sentiments, and various falling explosives discourage us again,” wrote Keshishian.

According to Syrian-Armenian Hrayr Aguilian, who moved to Armenia from Aleppo a few years ago, though 90 percent of those, who moved to Armenia like him, hope they will return, even in case of a little peace it will not be possible in the near future, because they feel the conflict will still go on for a long time, and even Russia’s or other state’s intervention will not help settle down the problem soon.

“That is why keeping the Armenian community there, in my opinion, is a dream. The Armenian community is in agony: just a few thousand ethnic Armenians remain in Syria. I think in the next few years they will also leave Aleppo,” Aguilian told ArmeniaNow, noting with regret that Armenians in Syria have not yet been able to come together.