Fighters from the Islamic State reportedly desecrated an Armenian Genocide memorial complex in the eastern Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor, near the site where vast numbers of Armenian refugees were forced to march to their deaths in the early 20th century, Lebanese media outlet Al Mayadeen TV reported.
The Der Zor Memorial Church contains the remains of victims of the Armenian Genocide and is often compared to the Auschwitz death camp in Poland.
Hundreds of thousands of Armenians were said to have died during the march to Deir ez-Zor, which was ordered by Ottoman Turk soldiers.
Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian condemned the destruction of the church and called on the international community to combat the Islamic State, which, he said, “threatened civilized mankind,” Armenian news outlets reported.
The Armenian Genocide Memorial Church served as a pilgrimage site for Armenians in Syria, and every year, on April 24, special commemoration ceremonies attended by thousands of people would be held at the site.
The complex housed, in addition to the church, a museum, monument and archive.