30 Mar 2013 11:00
"Although Syria is considered their birthplace, Armenia is their ancestral homeland; they can live here as Armenians," Armenian Ministry of Diaspora chief of staff for Syrian issues, Mr Zakarian Findus said, referring to the Syrian-Armenian community. He puts the current figure of Syrian-Armenians in Armenia at around 6,500, down from an original figure of more than 11,000 that arrived in August 2012, when violence began in Aleppo, Syria, home to the majority of the Armenian community in the country.
Although Armenia is providing a safe home for thousands fleeing violence in Syria, the country faces many economic problems at present, and many Syrians left Aleppo without much money, possessions, and their livelihood. The community has been an accepted part of Aleppo, and Syrian society, but with war continuing to destroy the country, some Armenians see the fighters becoming increasingly sectarian, and worry that minorities may face violence if and when the Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad falls.
For now, the Syrian-Armenian community are establishing themselves in Armenia, establishing restaurants, working, waiting, and trying to keep a low-profile.
Children have been taken into schools, and one school has been established for those who wish to follow the Syrian curriculum in Arabic, the Cilician school, in central Yerevan.
The future remains uncertain for Syria's minorities, and many Armenians from the country and applying for passports incase they can't easily return, or want to apply for visas outside the region. Celebrating Easter around six months after the first migration from Aleppo arrived, the community is experiencing life in what dub, their 'second home'.