New York Times reports that as the situation in Syria continues to spiral downward, a growing number of members of the country’s historic Armenian community are seeking refuge in Armenia.
As EURASIANET reporter Yigal Schleifer writes, for now, Armenia is hedging its bets. It is sending aid to Armenians in Syria, helping them stay and survive. But it is also helping them come to Armenia, temporarily or permanently, by fast-tracking visas, residency permits and citizenship.
Meanwhile, as the Armenia Now website reports, some of those refugees — from the city of Aleppo — have opened a restaurant in Yerevan, hoping to keep a taste of home while they’re away from Syria.
The restaurant was opened two months ago in the lounge belonging to the Aram Manukian Cultural Youth Center of ARF Dashnaktsutyun, which provided it free of charge. Besides the restaurant, there is an internet club, children’s room and a small souvenir shop.
Harout Kzirian, manager of the restaurant, is one of thousands of Syrian Armenians, who were forced to leave their home in Syria and seek shelter in Armenia.
“Armenia has always been in our dreams. My family and I have been visiting Armenia every year and enjoyed our vacation here. But now we, the Armenians of Syria are in an unenviable position, although we found ourselves in our historical homeland, which has welcomed us. But we all are dreaming to be back to our homeland in Syria, be back to our homes, schools, universities, relatives and families. Every day we follow the news but so far no good prediction of the conflict. We live in hope, “says Kzirian.