Monday, April 14, 2014

Alma Sakaian: 1915 Armenian Caravan PART III Samsat to Ras Al Ayn

Alma Sakaian, a young woman of 15 years of age, was among the 150 survivors of a 1915 deportation caravan that numbered 18,000 men, women and children. She was the sole survivor of her immediate and extended family. Her 65 day forced march commenced in her village of Aghin situated in the regions of the Upper Euphrates valley. It traversed ancient roads along the Euphrates River, along the foot paths of the Taurus Mountains and the uncharted sand dunes of the Syrian Desert. Using available primary sources I have attempted to recreate her ordeal. 

PART III chronicles the landscape traversed days fifty to seventy from the ferry crossing of the Southern Euphrates at Samsat to Ras Al Ayn in the Syrian Desert.The map outlines the 3 caravans that deported the villages of the Harpout area. The identified numbered towns on the right are the towns the Alma's caravan passed through and the correspond to numbered pictures provided. The pictures should convey to the reader the difficult terrain that the deportees walked upon. 


Alma Sakaian: 1915 Deportation Caravan Rte. PART I : The First 13 of 65 Days Forced March; Aghin to Malatia 

Alma Sakaian: 1915 Caravan PART II Malatia to Samsat


1915; September 10: Eight thousand women and children from convoys originating in Harput and Erzerum are exterminated between Diyarbekir and Mardin, their killers being members of bandit squadrons of the S.O. **(Simon, n.d.: 90).

1915; September 14: Two thousand women and children of the convoys originating in Harput and Erzerum are exterminated in the outskirts of Nisibin. ** (Simon, n.d.: 90).

1915; October to the end of March 1916, concentration camp at Ras ul-Ayn (mutessarifat of Zor): This camp is situated to the east of Urfa, in Syria and Mesopotamia in a desert climate. The camp of Ras-ul-Ayn houses deportees for six months. ** (Kévorkian, 2006:804-805).

1916; March 17, concentration camp at Ras ul-Ayn: In five days the operation saw the systematic liquidation of 40,000 internees still living in the camp. This violence was organized by the kaymakam, Refik Bey; Adıl Bey, the Director of deportees; an “educated” Istanbulite; and local Çerkez led by the Mayor of Ras ul-Ayn, Arslan Bey. ***(Kévorkian, 2006: 805).


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