Theses Master's

Assessing Attitudes of Syrian-Armenian Refugees toward Redress and Justice in Post-Conflict Syria

Baghdassarian, Anoush

For centuries, Syria has been home to Armenians in cities such as Kessab, Damascus, and Aleppo. Armenians have contributed significantly to the military, economic, industrial and cultural development of Syria, yet as a result of the current conflict in Syria, more than half of the Armenian population has been dispersed. Like millions of other Syrians, their communities have been severely damaged by crossfire and direct attacks from armed opposition groups. Yet efforts to assess attitudes towards redress and reconciliation of Syria’s minority community, including the Armenians, have not been abundant. As there are efforts currently being undertaken to prepare potential transitional justice interventions in post-conflict Syria, the Armenian perspective on redress is a critical piece of the narrative.

Herein I examine the attitudes of Syrian-Armenians towards justice and redress in post-conflict Syria. Through two human rights theoretical lenses, that of minority rights and transitional justice, I aim to provide the foundational backdrop against which an analysis of the opinions and attitudes expressed by the informants in this study can take place. I use interviews and survey responses with Syrian nationals (of Armenian ethnicity) currently resettled in Armenia from a March 2019 research trip, in addition to archival material, reports, and other publicly available secondary sources, to assess what Syrian-Armenians might feel justice and repair should entail in a post-conflict Syria.

I conclude that three general themes appear across the majority of collected responses that can help indicate what this community might prioritize for redress. The three themes are: (1) Ensuring safety and stability, (2) Protecting the rights and liberties of all citizens, and (3) (Re)creating a unified Syria. In presenting these themes, I argue that they must be assessed against the backdrop of the past century’s history and its repercussions on the minorities in Syria. I attempt to demonstrate that the multiple oppressive acts against this people: the legacy of the genocide, the suppression of their diverse identities in the 1950s and 60s, and now the destruction of their homes and cultural/religious/ethnic centers, all influence their notions of what redress and justice can and should look like in post-conflict Syria.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Institute for the Study of Human Rights
Thesis Advisors
Mouradian, Khachador
M.A., Columbia University
Published Here
December 4, 2019