April 24th 1915 marks the date upon which the Ottoman-Turks commenced their genocides against the ethnic Armenians, Assyrians and Greeks, in a matter of 3 years the Ottoman Turks had killed 2.75 million people.
On March 21st last Turkey facilitated a group of rebels, including members of the al-Qaeda group Jabhat al-Nusra, to cross the Turkish border into Syria. The rebels attacked the Syrian border town of Kessab most of whose resident are ethnic Armenian. It was a frightening echo of past atrocities as thousands were again forced to leave the town just as their ancestors had done so many years before.
Thousands fled the town, some going towards the sea to take small boats others left by car some on foot. Today a majority of Kessab’s residents are living in the city of Lattakia. Reliable media reports say that the town is now being systematically looted by the rebels.
Eyewitness testimony of the late Arpiar Missakian who was born in Kessab in 1894: "In 1909, during the Adana massacres, Turkish soldiers attacked Kessab. I was merely a boy then. They came early in the morning. They were 20,000 strong with Mausers and other artillery. The men of our town fought back, my father among them. But all they had were these ancient hunting rifles. Shifteh, they called them. Not very effective. They lost 50 to 60 men before we fled. They held off the Turkish army until noon or so, then we fled.
With the help of the French, we fled to Latakia to the north on boats. We returned five to six days later to find all our houses burned to the ground. Only charred stone walls remained; everything else was burned. It took us months to rebuild.
In 1915, we were the last to be deported out of Kessab because we were Protestant. The American ambassador in Bolis had apparently secured guarantees for our safety, but we were deported anyway. They took us toward Dier-ez-Zor--the interior Syrian desert. Our whole family: my father, mother, four brothers, two sisters. I was 20 or 21 at the time. We loaded everything we had on mules and horses and set out under armed guards. They took us to Meskene on the Euphrates River. Meskene was a huge outdoor camp where tens of thousands of Armenians had been deported--bit by bit they were sent to Dier-ez-Zor, to their death. We were there for a while. We lived under tents along with a lot of others from Kessab. Most of the time we had nothing to eat. Sometimes my father would buy bread from the soldiers, but they had mixed sand with the flour--so we ate this hard bread, and sand crunched under our teeth.
Meskene was a horrible, horrible place. Sixty thousand Armenians had been buried under the sand there. When a sandstorm hit, it would blow away a lot of the sand and uncover those remains. Bones, bones, bones were everywhere then. Wherever you looked, wherever you walked."
Taken from an article published in the Huffington Post in 2009