Memorial monument to 100th anniversary of Armenian Genocide to be erected in Damascus

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A memorial monument in honor of the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide with the names of the victims will be set in the historic quarter of Damascus - Bab Sharqi.

The ceremony of laying the foundation stone of the memorial was held on Sunday in the historic part of the capital with the participation of the head of the Armenian Orthodox Diocese of Damascus Metropolitan Armash Nalbandian and the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East Ignatius Aphrem II.

Despite the security threat in the Syrian capital and possible extremist provocations, the Armenian diaspora representatives and a large number of Syrian citizens moved with candles in their hands towards the future memorial in a procession honoring the memory of 1.5 million Armenians killed during the Ottoman Empire.

After the memorial service at St. Sarkis church, Metropolitan Nalbandian called for the Republic of Turkey to recognize the Armenian Genocide carried out by the Ottoman Empire, to condemn it and "to stop distorting the history and denying the unquestionable truth."

Before the internal conflict, more than 100,000 Armenians lived in Syria, most of them settled in the north (Aleppo province) and in the northeast (Al-Hasaka province) of Syria. According to some data, not more than 7,000 people lived and worked in Damascus. When the Syrian crisis began in 2011, about 90 thousand Armenians fled the Arab Republic.

Armenia insists that the global community recognize the Armenian Genocide under the Ottoman Empire. Turkey has traditionally denied the accusations, claiming that both Armenians and Turks were the victims of the tragedy in 1915. Sharp reaction of Ankara to the international recognition of the Genocide of 1915 is one of the main reasons causing for the tense relations between Turkey and Armenia.

Text and pictures by RIA Novosti