Duvar English

The People’s Council of Syria, the nation’s unicameral parliament, has backed a resolution condemning the mass killings of Armenians by the Ottoman Turks in 1915 as genocide.

Lawmakers have passed the motion unanimously, Sputnik reported, citing Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA).

They expressed sympathy for the Armenian people and recognized what they called the “systematic ethnic cleansing and massacre” of Armenians, Syrians and Assyrians by the Ottoman Empire, calling on the international community to condemn it as well.

Some 1.5 million Armenians were killed and many more deported from the Ottoman Empire in what many scholars say amounts to a genocide. So far, 32 countries have formally recognized what happened at the time as a genocide.

Turkey acknowledges that mass killings of Armenians took place during World War I and in the following years, but disputes the death toll and rejects the term.

The Syrian government previously announced their recognition of the Armenian genocide a few years ago when a delegation from Yerevan visited Damascus.

In the past, Syria allowed the recognition of the genocide inside the country, but the government did not officially recognize it due to ties with Ankara.

The resolution was passed at a time when Syrian and Turkish government forces have found themselves on a collision course in Idlib, the last Syrian militant enclave outside of Bashar al-Assad’s control, currently held by the jihadist group Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, the local branch of al-Qaeda.

While troops loyal to President al-Assad and backed by Russia are advancing on the positions of the rebels, Turkey deployed its troops to Idlib.

Syria has condemned Turkey’s military presence in the province as illegal.

Turkey’s defense ministry said on Feb. 10 that it had shelled Syrian positions and killed 101 government troops in retaliation for the killing of five Turkish soldiers by Syrian army artillery fire. Last week, Ankara reported killing another 76 Syrian servicemen in response to an artillery strike that left eight Turkish troops dead.