Syria’s Parliament, the People’s Council, convened a special session on March 17, dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. According to the press service of the Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, People’s Council Speaker Mohammad Jihad al-Laham opened the session.
“The days ahead will coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide that was committed by the Ottomans against the Armenian people. In this regard, we express our absolute solidarity with the friendly Armenian people, as well as our Syrian-Armenian compatriots, against whom 100 years ago a horrible genocide was perpetrated by Ottoman authorities. Today, we are reminded of history’s most horrible and painful memory. We call on the international community and all the peoples of the world to stand side by side against the murderers, executioners and terrorists that pose a threat to the Middle East in order to prevent further crimes against humanity, civilization and history,” said al-Laham.
After his statement, al-Laham held a moment of silence with deputies to honor the memory of more than 1.5 millions victims of the Armenian Genocide.
More than 20 parliamentary representatives and chairpersons of permanent commissions delivered speeches during the session strongly condemning the Genocide and called upon the international community to do the same.
During World War I, the people of Syria rendered their assistance to Armenian Genocide survivors, however, the Syrian Arab Republic today has not officially recognized it.
During his June 2009 official state visit to Yerevan, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad did not visit the Tsitsernakaberd memorial to Armenian Genocide victims as is protocol when visiting heads of state travel to Armenia.
On March 1, ultra-nationalist Turkish politician Dogu Perincek visited Damascus with a delegation of Turkish parliamentarians where they met with the secretary of the Ba’ath Party Hilal Hilal and Deputy Foreign Minister of Syria. Perincek, the leader of Turkey’s Workers’ Party while on a lecture tour in Switzerland in 2005 made several public statements where he denied the reality of the 1915 Armenian Genocide, calling it an ‘international lie.’ He was convicted by a Swiss court for those statements in 2007. Perincek appealed the Swiss court’s decision to the European Court claiming that the Swiss Criminal Code breached his freedom of expression.On March 7, 2014 Switzerland filed an appeal that led to the Grand Chamber hearing on January 28. A ruling is expected in a few months.