12.08.2017, 14.46 People
On August 8th, the SDF fighters had liberated around 150 families in Raqqa’s eastern districts. Among them also an Armenian family.
After the chaos had begun in Syria, around 60 Christian and Armenian families stayed in Raqqa. But after the islamist gangs took over the city, their number diminished visibly.
Araksî Gomeciyan, 60, a member of the newly liberated family, shared her story about the conditions they lived in.
The Armenian woman explained, that she had been living in Raqqa for all her 60 years. She describes the effect of the situation, when the city was occupied by ISIS: “When ISIS came to the city, we stayed in the houses. We prayed and lighted candles for god so he would defend us, if they will try to destroy the whole area, including us.”
Further: “ISIS forced us to wear the black cover, even gloves. Who wouldn’t behave according to their rules, has been arrested. They also didn’t let us sell our house and go somewhere else.”
According to Araksî, they were the last Armenian family in Raqqa. She said: “We are the last family leaving the city. We are sad about that, but there was no other way. The war is heavy right now and basic things like water and bread ran out. In the end we lived only from rice and bulgur.”
But despite the sadness to have left the city of her childhood and youth, she also expressed happiness about being in a safe place now. Also she said: “We didn’t think, that the SDF and the Syriac Military Council would welcome us so warmly.”
On the other hand, her husband Karbîs Gomeciyan noted, that in the beginning ISIS didn’t put much pressure on the Armenian families. But later the overall situation changed and ISIS forced them to pay a kind of tax, called ‘Ciziye’, counting for all men over 18. Later on, everyone who didn’t obey these rules, was displaced.
Gomeciyan added: “In the end, their goal is to eradicate and displace the Armenian people once again. The first time, Armenian people were massacred by Turkey, the second time now it was ISIS, who by wanting to ‘clean’ the area did the same.”
Gomeciyan made clear, that they had many muslim friends. With them they had been living many happy and nice moments. But when ISIS came, they got to know their alleged ethnicity. He said: “Mohammed’s religion does not kill. It is a pardoning religion. We learned from the very first day on, that they don’t have anything in common with Islam and Islam doesn’t have anything to do with them.”
About getting out of Raqqa, he described: “Of course, we were really sad to turn our back on the city. But when we saw the SDF, it meant rescue and calm for us.”
Until now the SDF’s special teams for liberating civilians managed to lead thousands of civilians out of the hard-fought areas.
Media and Press Center YPJ