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The Syrian parliament on Thursday unanimously adopted a resolution recognizing the massacre of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire during the First World War as genocide. This happened against the backdrop of a sharp aggravation of the already hostile relationship between Ankara and Damascus.

People's Council of Syria



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The resolution says that "the Armenians, Assyrians and other peoples who make up the Syrian nation fell victim to ethnic cleansing, targeted massacre and genocide." Legislature calls on parliaments of other countries to enact similar laws

Syrian Arab News Agency



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The Syrian parliament on Thursday unanimously adopted a resolution recognizing the massacre of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire during the First World War as genocide. This happened against the backdrop of a sharp aggravation of the already hostile relationship between Ankara and Damascus. The Syrian and Turkish military in recent days several times fought in the province of Idlib in northwestern Syria.

The deputies of the Syrian parliament adopted the resolution unanimously. It notes that "mass crimes committed at the beginning of the twentieth century on the territory of the former Ottoman Empire against the Armenian people are recognized as genocide," TASS reports.

The resolution says that "the Armenians, Assyrians and other peoples who make up the Syrian nation fell victim to ethnic cleansing, targeted massacre and genocide." The legislature has called on parliaments in other countries to enact similar laws.

Parliament also "condemned attempts to deny this crime and distort the historical truth about it." "We now see Turkish aggression, based on a racist Ottoman ideology," said parliament speaker Hamuda Sabbag, noting that the "ancestors of Erdogan" committed the Armenian genocide.

The deputies, in turn, noted that such a decision would protect against the recurrence of such crimes in the future and said that the events in Syria showed "the true face of the aggressive Turkish regime," RIA Novosti reports.

Turkey in response accused Damascus of hypocrisy. "This (adoption of resolution. – Note NEWSru.com) is a manifestation of hypocrisy on the part of the regime, which for many years committed a massacre, drove out millions of people from their homes and used chemical weapons, "the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The ministry also expressed the view that Damascus "is responsible for the humanitarian drama that unfolds at the borders" of Turkey and Syria.

The Syrian parliament is completely loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, whose legitimacy is not recognized by the Syrian armed opposition. A number of opposition factions support Turkey.

On Wednesday, Erdogan criticized Russia, accusing it of assaulting civilians in Idlib. The Turkish president also threatened to attack the Syrian government forces in the event of new attacks on the Turkish military.

In recent days, in Idlib, during the offensive by Assad against Syrian armed opposition units, more than 10 Turkish military men were killed at observation posts established in accordance with the Turkish-Russian agreements. Turkey, in response, significantly increased its group in Idlib, transferring heavy military equipment to the province. It is reported that dozens of Syrian troops were killed in return fire. US and NATO announced support for Turkey.

The Turkish Defense Ministry on Thursday announced that the Turkish military in Idlib will force a ceasefire and punish anyone who violates it, according to Radio Liberty.

The Russian Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Defense claim that Assad’s troops, with the support of Russia, are fighting in Idlib with terrorist groups, and their actions do not violate the agreement.

In recent weeks, Assad’s troops have taken control of about a third of the territory previously held by the opposition, including the important Damascus-Aleppo highway. At the same time, according to human rights activists and local residents, dozens of civilians died during the bombing and shelling. According to the UN, more than 800 thousand people have left their homes in recent months, fleeing the bombing.

Armenian Genocide

In the late XIX – early XX centuries, the Ottoman Empire carried out persecution of Armenians, which reached a peak in 1915, during the First World War. Then more than 1.5 million Armenians were destroyed. Armenia calls these events genocide. Memorial Day of the victims of the Armenian Genocide is celebrated on April 24: on this day in Istanbul more than 800 representatives of local intelligentsia of Armenian origin were detained and killed 100 years ago.

The fact of the genocide of the Armenian people in Ottoman Turkey is recognized by many states, the European Parliament and the World Council of Churches.

Turkey does not accept the use of the term "genocide" in relation to the events of 1915, stating that then there was a fratricidal war in the Ottoman Empire and all parties suffered heavy losses. Ankara announced the opening of the Ottoman archives and invited historians to study them "to develop an objective approach" to the events of 100 years ago.

At the same time, the Turkish authorities strictly adhere to the extreme point of view, unconditionally denying genocide. So, in 2015, Turkey recalled its ambassador in Vienna, after the Austrian parliament adopted a declaration condemning the genocide of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. Before that, Turkey recalled the ambassador from the Vatican after Pope Francis used the word "genocide", speaking of the massacres of Armenians.

In 2016, Turkey withdrew its ambassador in Berlin in protest against the fact that the lower house of the German parliament (Bundestag) recognized the Armenian genocide as an “overwhelming majority”. In Ankara, this decision was called a "historical mistake."

The State Duma of the Russian Federation adopted a resolution in 1995 "On the condemnation of the genocide of the Armenian people of 1915-1922 in their historical homeland – in Western Armenia." In December 2019, the US Senate unanimously recognized the Armenian Genocide. This, as in the case of Syria, also, as can be assumed, was done in the peak of Ankara, with which Washington has recently had a difficult relationship.

At the same time, some countries refuse to recognize the Armenian Genocide, fearing deterioration in relations with Ankara. Thus, on February 14, 2018, the Israeli Knesset rejected the bill recognizing the Armenian Genocide. Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotoveli stated that a parliamentary delegation was sent to Yerevan for the 100th anniversary of the genocide in 2015, but the country will not take an official position on this issue because of its complexity and diplomatic consequences, as well as a pronounced political nature .

Despite the common border, there are no diplomatic relations between Armenia and Turkey. In Zurich in 2009, the foreign ministers of the two states signed protocols on the establishment of diplomatic relations and on the principles of relations, however, these documents were not ratified by the parties. On March 1, 2018, Armenia announced the cancellation of the mentioned protocols.