Syrian parliament recognises Armenian genocide after Erdoğan’s threats

The Syrian parliament on Thursday recognised the 1915 mass killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as genocide, as Turkey intensified military deployments in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib. 

“The parliament ... condemns and recognises the genocide committed against the Armenians by the Ottoman state at the start of the 20th century,” Agence France-Presse cited the Syrian parliament as saying in a statement.

The Syrian lawmakers passed the motion unanimously, Syria’s state-run news agency SANA said. 

The recognition of the Armenian genocide came after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Wednesday that Turkey would strike the Syrian army anywhere in the country if it attacked Turkish soldiers in Idlib.

Some 13 Turkish soldiers were killed by Syrian shelling in a week in the last major rebel-held enclave, where Turkey has 12 observation posts built under a 2018 deal made with Russia to prevent a Syrian government assault.

The Russian-backed Syrian government accused Turkey of supporting terrorist groups in Idlib and condemned its presence in Syria as illegal. 

So far 32 countries have recognised the genocide during which an estimated 1.5 million Armenians were killed. Turkey accepts the mass deportation of Armenians took place, but denies there was a genocide.

Syria is home to an estimated 100,000 Armenians who are mainly the descendants of people who managed to escape the genocide in present day Turkey a century ago.