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The Manchester Guardian, 23 augustus 1915
Bron: The Guardian

The Doomed Armenians

Bold Stand followed by Massacre

Terrible fate in Exile
A correspondent sends us some additional details about the plight of the Armenians in Turkey. These details were obtained from some Greeks of Trebizond, who were carrying maize to Kirasund, when were taken prisoners by a Russian boat and landed at Batum.

According to their account the Armenians, with few exceptions, have been driven from their homes, from all sea coast towns, in most cases without regard to sex or age. At Jirasund some 60 young and prosperous Armenians were accused by the Authorities of being in correspondence with the revolutionary committees in the Caucuses; after being arrested at night they were rushed through court-marshal, and all were shot outside the town near a bridge. The Greeks have mentioned some names the knew well. After this wholescale murder the authorities proceeded to deport the 250 Armenian families of Kirasund to Kharput, exception being made in the case of some old women above 70 and some pregnant women. Nothing was known of their fate by the time they left. The Government, moreover, has collected large numbers of Muslem immigrants in the vicinity, and a Government Commission is studying the details of distributing the property of the deported among Moslem immigrants.

Children Crying for Help
According to these Greeks few Armenians are left in Trebizond; under harsh circumstances they have been removed to the hinterland of Asia Minor. Wealthy people were stripped of everything they possessed and were compelled to march for hundreds of miles. In passing through the streets of Trebizond on of the Greeks said that he saw several Armenian boys and girls under 12 locked up in their school near the Bishops residence. These unfortunate children were crying for help and bread from the windows, but no one seemed to take any notice of them.

Instead of submitting to the Turks and being butchered, the Armenians of Shabin-Karahigsar (on the Trebizond-Sivas chaussee) and the neighborhood, some 4,000 strong, entrenched themselves in their homes from the middle of May. They captured the town and repulsed all Turkish attacks, inflicting heavy loses on them. According to the Greeks, the Armenians were well armed and possessed bombs and machine-guns, which enabled them to hold out to the beginning of July. Then the Turks brought heavy reinforcements from the front and overwhelmed the Armenians, who were running short of ammunitions. The town was taken and thousands of women and children were put to death in cold blood. By the time they left the 800 Armenian defenders of Shanan, a village some 25 miles to the southeast of Trebizond, were still fighting and making desperate sorties to break the Turkish siege.

Suffering of the Exiles
On the 14th of July three Armenian refugees reached Tabriz from Mosul after a dreadful march through the mountains of Hakhiary and Urumiah. They came, they said, to ask help for the 4,000 Armenians women and children who were deported from Bitlis in last May. To a representative of the National Bureau at Tabris they made the following statement :-There were only a few old men among these 4,000 unfortunate captives, who had been compelled to march in the tropical heat of Mesopatamia from Bitlis to Mosul and Sulefmanie, a distance of some 200 miles. Many had fallen by the roadside owing to exhaustion and sickness, and those unable to bear the suffering had simply been left behind to take care of themselves. The women and children now in Mosul and Sulefmanie were subjected to the grossest indignities at the hands of the Moslem rabble. They were freely handed over to the followers of the Prophet to convert them to Islam and to "marry" them, others were sold at the bazaars as concubines, and the younger ones were govern away as presents among the Moslems. All these horrors were apparently connived by the local authorities.

Colofon