ISIL destroys landmark Armenian church in Syria

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Militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have destroyed an Armenian church in an eastern Syrian city, which was dedicated as a memorial to the 1915 mass killings of Ottoman Armenians.

The sixth-largest city in Syria, Deir ez-Zor, has a Kurdish majority and was recently invaded by ISIL militants.

Deir ez-Zor, then an Ottoman-controlled desert town, was one of the destinations in the 1915 deportations of Ottoman Armenians. During a historic visit to Yerevan last year, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu declared the deportations to have been “wrong” and “inhumane.”

After killing hundreds of members of the Deir ez-Zor tribal clans last month, ISIL destroyed the landmark church, according to local media.

Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian has issued a statement condemning the desecration of the church, calling it a “horrible barbarity.”

Nalbandian also called on the international community to cut the sources of supply, support, and financing to ISIL and eradicate what he referred to as “a disease that threatens civilized mankind.”

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