Syria – Armenians fight to save language and land in North East Syria

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Location: Al Hasaka, Syria

Language: Arabic

Duration: 00:05:28

Voice: Natural

Source: A24 Qamishli

Restriction: A24 subscribers

Date: 28/06/2022

Storyline:

Armenian activists in North-East Syria are teaching their ancient tongue to reinforce their place in contested areas around Hassaka.

This comes as Turkey is supporting the resettlement of displaced persons from other parts of the war-torn country in the area – an alarming development for Armenians.

The Armenian Social Council runs the course to raise awareness of the community’s language, culture, and history. 

Educator Lucien Erdemya told A24 News Agency that her course increase will increase the number of Armenian speakers in North-East Syria by training teachers to use the language across the curriculum.

Erdemyan wants the Armenian language to be part of the school curriculum in areas controlled by the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES).

Syria’s Armenian community was mainly formed between 1915 and 1920 with the arrival of survivors of the 1915 genocide carried out by Turkish nationalists.

The Office of the Armenian High Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs says about 60,000 community members fled the country during the current war, and nearly 30,000 are thought to remain in Syria.

Shot list:

SOUNDBITE (Lucien Erdemyan – Armenian language teacher):

“The students who joined the course are Armenians in the diaspora, who came to learn their mother tongue. Since the beginning of this month, we have started the first course to teach the Armenian language with the aim of spreading it in the community. We qualify people to be teachers of Armenian, and we seek to introduce the Armenian language into the curricula of Autonomous Administration schools, so that every Armenian, wherever they are, can learn their language. The course is also open to all people in the area.”

SOUNDBITE (Hayek Ossian – student):

“We are trying to revive our language through this course that started about a month ago. Lessons are given in the Armenian language to prepare us to be teachers of Armenian.”

SOUNDBITE (Asdaghi Arsene – Student):

“My grandfather, Arsene, was living in Badlis in Turkey. He survived the Armenian genocide at the age of ten years and took refuge here in Syria, where the people welcomed him with open arms. He embraced Islam, and so did we. We seek to revive our culture, history, and language. My goal is to spread the Armenian language in all schools.”

SOUNDBITE (Garina Kesoyan – teacher and member of the Armenian Social Council):

“There are not many Armenian people here as many died in the genocide. Through such courses, we aim to revive our existence. We will never forget the genocide and will always tell next generations about it.”

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