Fighters from the Islamic State (ISIS) reportedly desecrated and blew up the Armenian Genocide memorial complex in the eastern Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor, near the site where vast numbers of Armenian refugees were forced to march to their deaths in the early 20th century.
The Church, located in al-Rashidyeh neighborhood, was built in 1989-1990, and consecrated a year later.
The Armenian Genocide Memorial Church contains the remains of victims of the Armenian Genocide collected from the Syrian desert and has served as a pilgrimage site for Armenians worldwide, and every year, on April 24, special commemoration ceremonies attended by thousands of people would be held at the site.
Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian has strongly condemned the destruction of the church.
In a statement released today he called on the international community to combat the Islamic State, which, he described as “a threat to the civilized mankind.”
‘This hideous crime against a shrine once again demonstrates the brutal nature of the so-called Islamic State terrorist group. The international community should immediately stop and uproot this plague threatening the civilized world, cut off the routes of its supplies, funding, support and sponsorship,” he said.
Since its emergence as a real force in the Middle East ISIS has committed vandalism and sacrileges in many shrines and holy sites both in Syria and in Iraq. In recent weeks the United States and its allies have stated about their commitment to confront ISIS that has been called a threat to the region and the entire world.