A press release issued recently by Rev. Haroutune Selimian, President of the Armenian Protestant Community in Syria, provides details about how Armenians are facing the civil war in Syria. The information mainly relates to the city of Aleppo, where the majority of the Armenian population is concentrated and where Rev. Selimian serves also as pastor of the Armenian Evangelical Bethel Church.
The current crisis in Aleppo began in July 2012 as a part of a wide scale Syrian civil war. The conflict expanded across the city, forcing many to live in difficult conditions. The health system nearly collapsed and food, water and electricity supplies were disrupted. A considerable number of physicians and health workers fled the city.
Rev. Selimian describes the difficult psychological situation caused by missiles hitting residential neighborhoods. “Many people are suffering from various diseases because of the daily fear of rockets and missiles being showered upon them. They are also suffering from trauma having lost family members and relatives to the mortars and shells hitting randomly but everywhere at just any hour of the day and night,” he says.
Recently 3 missiles have hit the Armenian Evangelical Bethel School and the Church compound causing considerable damage. One of the missiles fell during school time. “Students could easily see the missile falling from the sky as they were sitting in their classrooms”, the Reverand noted.
Despite these difficulties, the number of students in the Armenian Evangelical Bethel Secondary School, from KG to the 12th Grade, has been high (about 350 students and 40 active teachers). The school continues to offer highly qualified education approved by the authorities.
The nine churches that belong to Armenian Evangelical Community in Aleppo and Kessab try to correspond to the needs of the believers. In Aleppo, Sunday school, “Armiss” Conservatory, Women's Communal Worship Group and other groups function in regular basis. More than 400 individuals attend the church's Sunday Worship Service.
The Church has established a health clinic to serve the community and the larger population, without discrimination. Special attention is given to the chronic diseases.
“We, as the Armenian Community in Syria, will remain faithful and will keep our houses, churches, and organizations alive,” emphasizes the Reverand, asking friends abroad to extend a helping hand. The aid will help the Church to assist economically afflicted families by providing them with food parcels. Additional help will enable the students to continue their education and the physically ill to receive medication.
For contacting Rev. Haroutune Selimian kindly note the following contact details:
Tel: +963 21 4642 450
+963 21 4467 528
Fax: +963 21 460 73330
Email: [email protected]