First photos of Armenian Genocide Memorial Church in Der Zor after the liberation of the city
The first photos of Armenian Genocide Memorial Church in Der Zor by journalist Ahmad Hamdush
On 21 September 2014, the memorial complex was blown up and destroyed by members of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
The Armenian Genocide Martyrs Memorial Church, which was the target of relentless attacks during the Syrian conflict, has been liberate by the Syrian armed forces, the Al-Masdar news agency reported over the weekend, publishing photos of the ruins of the edifice.
The Armenian Genocide Martyrs Memorial Church, or Holy Martyrs as it is commonly referred, was erected on the site where thousands of bones from martyrs of the Armenian Genocide were left untouched as a memorial to the death marches, during which Armenian perished.
The photographs published by Al-Masdar show the extent of the damage to the building, which housed artifacts and mementoes from survivors of the Armenian Genocide. The city had been blocked off by the invading Islamic State force, also known as ISIS, ISIL or Daesh.
The destruction and attack on the Armenian Genocide Martyrs Memorial Church was condemned by US and European officials, as well as the Armenian government.
In 2010, in a memorable speech at the site, President Serzh Sarkisian compared it to Auschwitz, the symbol of the Holocaust.
“Quite often historians and journalists correctly compare De Zor with Auschwitz saying that ‘Der Zor is the Auschwitz of the Armenians.’ I think the chronology of events forces us to formulate the facts in a different manner: ‘Auschwitz is the Deir ez Zor of the Jews.’ Merely a generation later humanity witnessed the De Zor of the Jews,” said Sarkisian at the time. “Today, as the President of the Republic of Armenia, the homeland of all Armenians, I am here to ask: ‘Where and when will our Nuremberg [trials] be held?”
The Syrian armed forces announced the liberation of the city from the Islamic State.
While no immediate plans have been announced by the Syrian government to restore the memorial, it is likely to be renovated during the rebuilding of Deir ez-Zor.