September 29, 2014
By Henri Neuendorf
ISIS has destroyed the Armenian Genocide Memorial Church in Deir ez-Zor, Syria, Conflict Antiquities has reported. News of the destruction surfaced as Armenia celebrated the 23rd anniversary of its independence on September 21.
The Armenian Genocide Memorial Church complex was constructed between 1989 and 1990 and was consecrated in 1991. It includes a church containing the remains of victims, a genocide memorial, and a genocide museum. The memorial complex commemorates the 1.5 million Armenian Christians who lost their lives during the atrocity.
In 1915, hundreds of thousands of Armenians were killed during a march to Deir ez-Zor ordered by Ottoman Turk soldiers. Every year, on April 24, thousands of Armenian pilgrims from Syria and surrounding countries flock the the site for special commemorative ceremonies.
Breitbart reported that the Armenian foreign minister, Edward Nalbandian, issued a statement condemning the desecration of the church, labeling it a “horrible barbarity.” He urged the international community to fight the Islamic State which he compared to a disease that “threatens civilized mankind.”
The destruction of the Armenian Genocide Memorial complex comes amid heavy fighting for control of the region surrounding Deir ez-Zor between ISIS and rival, al-Qaeda-linked Islamist faction, the al-Nusra Front.