The Armenians in Syria
The recent relations between the Armenian Mountains And Syria traced the history thousands years. Both the Euphrates and Tigris rivers as a main vein have connected Armenia to the southern Countries. In the meanwhile, the territories of historical Syria have bounded Armenia from the North-east. Whereas the Eastern old routes(roads) have passed by the Armenian Heights, those Heights were connecting Syria to the Black Sea. At Certain historical intervals, the Armenians have founded residence in Syria, on Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea, as well as Mesopotamia.
The Armenian handwritten memorial manuscripts in Aleppo, Baghdad,(Ourfa) Yetesia and Antioch (Antakya) are considered the most important resources that give information about the Armenian Colonies in these countries, we can add Assyrian and Arabian resources in addition to the governmental documents and decrees.
The Foreign and Armenian resources unanimously confirm that the Armenian Empire Dikran the Great(64-86 B.C.) has expanded the southern boundaries till Palestine, and Antioch (Antakya) has been one of the Armenian Emperor's capitals. The entire peoples of that widespread Empire have had direct relations together ,at the same time, Dikranagerd as a cultural and business big and important place has established 77 B.C. It has bridged Armenia with Syria and Mesopotamia.
Consequently , Armenia has succeeded to rule the general(universal) trade routes. Dikran the Great has encouraged the immigration of Armenians to the occupied countries, and vise-versa .The Emperor of emperors and the next one Asdavazt II have leaded thousands of immigrants to Armenia (55-34 B.C.).
Syria has been one of the Roman Emperor's cities from 64 B.C. to the 4-th century A.C. It has cultivated and made active business relations with Armenia. Afterwards, Syria has been part of the Byzantine Emperor till the 7-th century. During the first centuries of spreading Christianity Antioch(Antakya) and Yetesia (Ourfa) have been presented as important places for religion and culture where many Armenian Students have studied there.
The first Armenian Immigration to Syria according to the reliable historical data took place in the days of the Persian King Khosrov I in the 6-th century(531-579).
By ruling Khosrov I Antioch and Yetesya in 539 he has taken (transformed) great numbers of Immigrants where the Armenians have been the majority in those countries .Syria has lived praising days during the Omayad's Caliphates (661-750)and they had remarkable relations with the Armenians.
Amit's Metropolitan Mar Teonysios Yakoub Saliby's (1173) writings are considered one of the important Historical reliable data for the Armenian's Second immigration to Syria between 717 and 728. Where he has mentioned in one of his writings that being Armenians in Syria they have ruled on their villages, churches, abbeys ( monastery).consequently, the Third Patriarch Mar Atanas has asked from the Armenian Catholicos Hovhannes Otsnetsy for some clergymen to pasture the Armenians in Syria. Whereas the Red abbey at Shougher area has been a spiritual and cultural main House. By escaping The Armenians from the Byzantine occupation as well as Seljuk-Turkish pursuits, they have emigrated to Syria and Mesopotamia, meantime the Armenian third emigration to Syria has realized between 973 and 992.The Armenians have spread over the Syrian western areas. It is believed that the Armenians at those days have been settled in Aramo, Ghnemiye, Yakoubiye, Latakia, kesab, Swedia.(Mousa Mountain)and the surrounding villages.
The Mongol and Tatar invasions have caused the increase and growth of Armenian emigration in the second half of the 13-th century between 1220 and 1468.The Armenians have emigrated to Syria with the ruling class of the fallen Pakradouniants Kingdom in 1071.They have settled absolutely in the Northern Syria, Antioch, Yetesia and in Mesopotamia till Palestine.
On the other hand, the Caravan Business has had an extreme raise in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, and the Syrian Coastal Cities have usually lived economical unusual development. Although, Antioch has protected and preserved to be a famous place for there religious and cultural conditions, it has transformed to an important trade centre. The majority of the population according to J.Loran has been Armenians and Greeks, The Armenian Catholicos Khatchig Arshagouny who has established the Archbishopric Seat between 973 and 992 has continued his mission till the 13th Century. By Antioch's dishonorable historical position Aleppo has become a major Armenian Community Centre where organized and formed a prosperous colony.
There is no accurate statistics about the number of Armenians who have spread on the Syrian lands, but some Armenian resources mention that the Armenian population in Syria ( Aleppo city) and Lebanon are almost estimated eighth-five thousand Armenians between 1870 and 1890.
The Biggest Armenian emigrations to Syria has been realized as a result of Ottoman Emperor's pursuits in 1876,1895,1909,especially during the Armenian GENOCIDE in 1915 and the disaster of Armenian Cilicia in 1922 resulted in increasing the Armenian population on the Syrian land.
The last Armenian immigration towards Syria was when by the France-Turkish Treaty, Alexandret Sanjak has been annexed to Turkey. Whereas forty thousands Armenian Syrians and Armenians living in Lebanon have immigrated to hometown the next two years in 1939.
As every where, the Syrians also highly appreciate the Armenian's role in different nation countries in the service of improving and developing the homeland. The Armenians have also defended by their life for the hospitable Syrian freedom and independence by active participation in struggle for liberty till the Seventeenth April 1946 "Independence Day" .
| In appreciation of this by permission No 381,2 April 1946,the Syrian government has honored by the deserving Syrian First Rank Medal the Bishop Zareh Payaslian Metropolitan of Diocese of Aleppo.|
The major Armenian Colonies in the Historical Syria are: Aleppo, Damascus and Latakia. The historical settlements are Yakoubiye,Ghnemiye,Aramo and also kesab's surrounding regions, where Syrian small colonies exist nowadays ,whereas the Syrian Gezire's colonies are Qamshly, Derik (Malkiye) , Hasaka, Ras Oul Ayn, Tel Abiad, Der-Zor and Rakka. The next days of the Armenian GENOCIDE the above mentioned cities have founded they exist and keep their Armenian characteristics up to date.