Day 1,103: Syrian rebels take "last remaining Armenian village in the Middle East"

Today is Day 1,103 of the Syria conflict.

Rebels have taken the village of Kasab and, with it, a border crossing into Turkey.* 

It's hard to imagine either side shedding many tears over this fact right now, but Kasab, as the AFP writeup notes, was "the last remaining Armenian village in the Middle East," which is to say the sole village in the area to survive the genocide that occurred from 1915-1917 under the Ottoman Empire during World War I. The German-language ethnic map below shows the rough location of Armenian populations as of 1914. Armenian populations today are clustered either in the modern Republic of Armenia, further east, or in the Armenian diaspora communities in Russia, the United States, France, Lebanon, Georgia, and other countries. Most of the Armenian residents of Kasab have fled the current conflict.


Armenian communities shown in blue. (Wikimedia Commons)

Rebels have been fighting intensely in the province of Latakia—the "ancestral home" of the Assad family where Kasab is located—since Friday. Sunday, it was reported that one of President Bashar al-Assad's cousins had been killed in the clashes.

In other news, the UN today accused the Syrian government of holding up aid efforts. The New York Times has a helpfully thorough writeup with a link to the 14-page report.

The conflict continues.

*Though a "security source" in Damascus told AFP that "neither side is in control of the village," the AP points out that a video posted online shows opposition fighters celebrating, a checkpoint abandoned, and the streets deserted.