[lg policy] Armenia builds a New Aleppo for Armenian refugees from Syria

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Wed Jun 19 14:59:51 UTC 2013


Published on *EurasiaNet.org* (http://www.eurasianet.org)

Home <http://www.eurasianet.org/> > Armenia Builds a New Aleppo
------------------------------
Armenia Builds a New Aleppo
 June 11, 2013 - 8:16am, by Giorgi
Lomsadze<http://www.eurasianet.org/taxonomy/term/2399>
[1]

   - Tamada Tales <http://www.eurasianet.org/voices/tamadatales> [2]
   - Armenia Diaspora <http://www.eurasianet.org/taxonomy/term/3213> [3]
   - Syria <http://www.eurasianet.org/taxonomy/term/3829> [4]
   - EurasiaNet's Weekly Digest<http://www.eurasianet.org/taxonomy/term/3279>
   [5]

  Editors' Picks:
 No

To make sure exiles from Syria feel at home in Armenia, the government has
commissioned the construction of an entire settlement called New
Aleppo<http://armenia.kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/225404/>
[6].


Located 20 kilometers shy of the capital, Yerevan, the residential project
will accommodate some of the thousands of Syrians of Armenian
descent,<http://www.eurasianet.org/node/65669>
[7] who escaped the war in Syria.
New Aleppo, named in honor of the wartorn northern Syrian city that houses
most of Syria's ethnic Armenian population, will sit on 4.8 hectares (some
11 acres) of land in the industrial town of Ashtarak.

Armenia's Ministry of Diaspora Affairs <http://news.am/eng/news/156864.html>
[8] reports that some 600 families have expressed willingness to move into
the development's apartments. They will be expected to pay half the cost of
the flats; the authorities and charity groups are expected to pick up the
rest of the tab.

With some 7,000 Syrian-Armenians now seeking residency in Armenia, the
government says that more Syrian quarters will be popping up across the
country as well.


The Syrian Diaspora, estimated to be over 100,000-strong, descends from
ethnic Armenians who fled World-War-I-era massacres in Ottoman Turkey. Now,
a century later, the bloody rebellion in Syria has driven the community
back to what is considered their ancestral homeland.


Some commentators say that preserving the Armenian community in Syria
should be the main priority for Yerevan. Fears exist that the Diaspora
exodus could reduce Armenia’s ability to exert any influence in the Middle
East, long seen as an important Diaspora outpost.



But as long as Aleppo is not
safe<http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-22840728>
[9], the Armenian government is likely to continue building New
Aleppos.  The Armenian Diasporas are considered part of a larger Armenian
family, even if they have been continents and centuries away from the
Armenian state.



Yerevan has been fast-tracking visas and residency
permits<http://www.eurasianet.org/node/65728>
[10], facilitating employment and social
adaptation<http://armenpress.am/eng/news/721570/syrian-armenians%E2%80%99-employment-program-launched.html>
[11] for the arrivals from Syria, often described as returnees. The
projects pose a financial burden for the cash-strapped country, but the
authorities hope that the influx of ethnic Armenians will help boost
Armenia's shrinking population and contribute fresh entrepreneurial ideas
to its economy.



After all, in Armenia, as elsewhere in the South Caucasus, blood ties are
everything.

  2012 © EurasiaNet


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