Foreign Policy magazine has reported that an estimated 1,500 Syrian mercenaries affiliated with the Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army, also known as the Syrian National Army, had been deployed to the Nagorno-Karabakh region as of Oct. 5. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Nov. 3 that the number of Turkish-backed Syrian fighters in the conflict zone had reached 2,350.
A United Nations report in September documented that the Syrian National Army had carried out war crimes, including kidnappings, rape, and extortion of Kurds, Christians, and other minorities during the fighting in Syria.
"This is a completely new manifestation of expansion of terrorism when foreign terrorist fighters and jihadists from the Middle East have been deployed to a conflict zone in Europe, in Europe's Eastern Partnership area, and it is a serious threat for the international security and civility," Nazarian said.
"This process entails a continued cooperation on multilateral, bilateral levels as the members of civil society, who have been very active and who have made a significant contribution toward the fight against terrorism, in order to effectively face the challenge before the Christians in Europe and other regions."
Meanwhile, an ecumenical group of advocates for persecuted Christians have published a letter calling on the U.S. to condemn Turkey and Azerbaijan over the conflict, which has led to the deaths of more than a thousand Armenians in recent months.
"Turkey and Azerbaijan, with a combined population of 100 million, are working with terrorist mercenaries to target Armenia, population 3 million ... in a continuation of a century-long attempt to destroy a blockaded, landlocked, and partitioned state filled with descendants of genocide survivors," said the letter, written by Philos Project president Robert Nicholson.
The signatories urged the U.S. to suspend all arms sales to Turkey and Azerbaijan until the conflict ceases. They also asked the U.S. to send aid to Armenia and to initiate diplomatic efforts to resolve the region's disputed status.
Nazarian also pointed to the acts of vandalism that have taken place against Armenia's diplomatic missions in Europe, most recently against the Consulate General of Armenia in the city of Lyon, France, where vandals spraypainted "1915 RTE" on the building.
"'1915 RTE' is more than vocal as it contains a threat of recurrence of the Armenian genocide and the glorification of current Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, RTE," he explained.
In the Armenian genocide of 1894-1924, the Ottoman Empire killed an estimated 1.5 million Armenians.
"The world ignored Turkey's genocide of Armenians and other Christians a century ago. It would be a tragic mistake to ignore it again," Nicholson said.
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More than 1,300 soldiers have died on the Armenian side of the conflict alone since September 27, when Azerbaijan launched an offensive to retake the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, the New York Times reported.
Turkey is supporting Azerbaijan in what humanitarian and Christian aid organizations say is a campaign of violence against Armenian Christians in the territory. Turkey's military exports to Azerbaijan -- including drones, ammunition, and other weapons -- have risen sixfold this year, Reuters reported last month.
Armenia and Azerbaijan announced early Nov. 10 the latest ceasefire agreement, brokered by Russia. The agreement has proven unpopular in Armenia, with thousands gathering in the capital Yerevan to protest. The ceasefire calls for territorial concessions in and around Nagorno-Karabakh no later than Dec. 1 and the deployment of nearly 2,000 Russian peacekeepers, the Associated Press reported.
Pope Francis met privately with the Armenian Catholic Archparch of Istanbul, Archbishop Boghos Lévon Zékiyan, at the Vatican on Nov. 12.
The pope has repeatedly appealed for peace in the Caucasus region, most recently in his Angelus address on Nov. 1.
"Let us not forget what is happening in Nagorno-Karabakh, where armed clashes are interrupted intermittently by fragile truces," Pope Francis said.