|Re: THE GREAT WAR|
- Monday, October 4 2004, 2:07:52 (CEST)|
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The Assyrians had no reason to put much trust in the Turkish promises. The earlier Armenian massacres, small though they were as compares with those, which took, place later, were a beacon of warning. The preaching of the Jehad could hardly be expected to exclude the Assyrian Christians. The Kurds, moreover, were getting more and more out of hand. Those in the south were not likely to abstain from loot, When they knew that, quite apart from the happenings in Armenia proper, Kurdish tribes had already attacked and sacked villages in Albaq district just to the north of the Hakkiari mountains. Here a large number of Assyrian as well as Armenians were killed. The Russians, too, had commenced to make overtures to the Assyrians.
The first fighting in this par of the world was round Urmiyah. Here there was stationed a Russian consul, whose nominal bodyguard was, in fact, quite a strong garrison. For Urmiyah fell within the Russian sphere of influence. The condition of Persia was indeed an anomaly. Nominally independent, it was divided into spheres of influence, Russian and British-and the Russians, at any rate, made full use of their opportunity in the north. Persia remained theoretically netural throughout the war, but its country was for over four years a battle-ground between the Turks, Russians, and in the end the British as well. The first Turkish attacks on Uymiyah failed as the Russians sent reinforcements, but they soon were forced to retire in the face of the Turkish thrust towards Batum. This was defeated in January 1915 at the battle of Sara Kamish and the Russians returned once more to Urmiyah, where they remained in occupation until the outbreak of the Revolution in 1917. their temporary retirement, however, had left the local Christians defeceless. Upwards to ten thousands fled with the retreating Russians and most of them are living in Russia to this day. Many of the remainder fell victims to massacres, despite the devoted efforts of the American Missions to protect them. Many of the men were killed under the most brutal circumstance and many of the young women and girls were carried off.
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