A small Christian town in Syria that has been targeted by Al-Qaeda affiliated foreign fighters has finally gained international attention resulting from a Twitter hashtag campaign calling on people to help #SaveKessab.
Kessab is located close to Syria’s northern border with Turkey, and is primarily inhabited by Armenian Christians. Prior to the beginning of the Syrian Civil War, the town was a popular regional tourist resort during Summer.
The town was overrun by Al-Qaeda aligned forces on March 21st, with eyewitness reports stating that civilians have been forced out of the town as the insurgents looted and destroyed local property, including Churches.
Reports on social media suggest that residents who did not flee in the face of the attack on the town were rounded up and executed, however we are unable to confirm this with a reliable source.
Armenian community members in the United States are calling for Government assistance, stating that “the United States has a unique responsibility to protect the citizens of Kessab especially since a large proportion of them have American families desperately seeking to provide protection and refuge for them.”
Their request for assistance includes the US publicly condemning the invasion of the town, a withdrawal of forces, humanitarian assistance and help for American Armenians in finding missing relatives.
Along with the confirmed Al-Qaeda linked forces, Armenian community groups are also laying the blame for the attack on the Government of Turkey, a US ally and NATO member. Accusations include that Turkey assisted the attack and provided arms to the insurgents.
At the time of writing #SaveKessab tweets were hitting Twitter at the rate of around 20 tweets per minute.