Your Excellency, I have the honour of presenting in the enclosures the accounts of some Armenians who escaped from the massacre on the Chabur River in August, namely
Hosep Sarkissian from Aintab, Manug Kyrmenikian from Alabash near Marash, and Nazaret Muradian from Zeitun
which were recorded by Sister Beatrice Rohner.
The attendant circumstances and the other facts that have become known here are such that the accounts appear to be quite credible. Sister Rohner has known the two latter persons reporting for years.
As far as we know here, the annihilation campaign was implemented by the Mutesarrif, Zekki Bey (who, by the way, has been appointed to a position in Constantinople, as was reported here today), for no special reason. Unfortunately, the Armenians themselves then made their own situation even worse.
An Armenian in Der-el-Zor, who believed that he was discriminated against during the distribution of financial aid or attempted to procure an unfair advantage for himself, demanded a certain sum from one of his countrymen who was distributing the money, or he would notify the government of the secretly run relief action. He actually did this when his demand was refused, whereupon the Mutesarrif stated, "If money has been distributed, it must have been for the purpose of purchasing weapons (although this was completely out of the question). Thus, the Armenians are revolutionaries and must be destroyed." Even though the Mutesarrif would have continued his atrocious acts without resorting to this welcome excuse, it was necessary to mention this move, because a report that ignored it would not have been complete. This is not the only case in which the Armenians have fought with one another over the distribution of the financial aid. Over and over, individual members of the people have proved their lack of understanding that the situation demands that they must in no way draw the government's attention to themselves. When a Turkish Mohammedan, who had been won over for the relief action in Biredjik, was asked by the Sister whether he was able to carry on with his work, he gave the characteristic reply, "As long as the Armenians themselves do not make it impossible for me." They accuse each other in front of him in an outrageous manner, even those who do not know that he is working to assist them. Similar reports are also on hand from Rakka.
Hosep Sarkissian gives a figure of over 150,000 as the number of persons killed in July and August (in Enclosure I). There is no doubt now that hundreds of thousands were sent to the area around the Euphrates River. But it seems to me that the figure of one hundred and fifty thousand, who were supposedly still alive in July, is too high. However, it must be taken into account that in previous reports, which assumed that 20 to 30,000 were murdered in July and August on the Chabur River, only Der-el-Zor was considered, while according to a report now at hand all of the camps south of there, i.e. Meyadin and Ana, were also cleared. The number of people accommodated there has never been exactly determined here, because the travellers from Baghdad generally follow the caravan road on the western bank of the Euphrates River, while the Armenian camps were located out of sight on the eastern bank. It must be assumed, therefore, that the number of people killed in July and August has surpassed 30,000. Furthermore, it must also be recorded that according to the reports of Bernau, who visited all the camps north of Der-el-Zor, only about fifteen thousand Armenians were left between Meskené and Der-el-Zor at the end of August, and the figure in Der-el-Zor and south of there is insignificant. And those 15,000 will also presumably be quickly reduced.
The orphans in Meskené, of whom there were still 420 at the beginning of September, were sent to Hammam on about 21 September. A German who passed through Hammam on 29 September found less than 200 lying out in the open, without any protection and in a pitiful state. There is no doubt that they are all doomed. He found out that none of them were left in Meskené.
There are 450 children and 60 widows who have gathered together in Urfa and are being supported by the German Mission for the Orient. This assistance is taking place there with the knowledge of the local government, who also sent boys to be cared for to Deacon Künzler. However, this support must be carried out in the form of accommodation in Syrian families. Admission to the orphanage is not yet possible. The circumstances have become more difficult in Mosul. The government there has lately been demanding that foreign financial means of support be paid out through its offices.
Around 5 October, a smaller massacre took place in Rakka, during which about 30 Armenians were killed.
On 19 September, new deportations took place in Marash. Of the possibly 5,000 Armenians left over from the original 25,000, 120 families were deported, most of them already in a very poor state of health, whereby as usual the women and children were separated from the men.
Since about the beginning of August, Armenian women in Aleppo have been employed to spin for the army administration, receiving in return their daily ration of bread. Each of the indigenous church administrations has taken over such workhouses, so that in total about 4,000 women have temporarily been saved in this manner, while 1,500 children have now been accommodated in orphanages.
The following has been reported to me concerning the number of Armenians who still live in Syria and in the administrative district of this consulate:
In Marash, there are about 4,500 needy inhabitants of Marash and only a few …… from further away, because arrivals are being prevented.
In Aintab, there are about 3,800 inhabitants of Aintab and 1,200 refugees in the town, as well as 3,000 refugees in more than 150 surrounding villages.
There are about 700 refugees in Urfa, but no more inhabitants of Urfa itself.
In Biredjik and Djerablus: 2,000.
In Mosul: 4,000.
In Aleppo, there are about 17,220 people on the list of those requiring support, including the orphans.
Along the Euphrates River between Meskené and Der-el-Zor: 15,000.
In Damascus: about 10,000, many of whom have become Muslims.
In the Hauran region and south of there: about 30,000.
In Hama and Selimiye: 15,000, all of whom have become Muslims.
In Summa: 106,420, in addition to which no more than several thousand in Aleppo, Marash and Aintab must be added who do not require support, and perhaps several thousand we do not know about here. Furthermore, if we add those who are still in the Vilayet of Adana – the figure is unknown here, but it can only be very low – as well as the figure for those who stayed behind or were scattered in the Armenian and Anatolian Vilayets, furthermore those who crossed the Russian border, and the population of Smyrna and Constantinople, you will begin to get a rough idea of how many Armenians are still left in Turkey. Death will surely also reap a rich harvest among the 106,000 counted above during the coming winter.
I am sending the same report to the Imperial Embassy.
Statements by Manuk Kyrmenikian from Alabash near Marash.