Քեսապ (Kessab) | Historic Armenian Cities Campaign

Kessab is an Armenian-populated town in northwestern Syria, administratively part of the Latakia Governorate. The name of the town is thought to be derived from the Latin Casa Bella (the Beautiful House). Kessab is an ancient Armenian settlement, dating back to the period of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia.

The migration of the Armenians to the region increased in the 14th and the 15th centuries, during the Mamluk and the Ottoman periods, in an attempt to avoid persecutions, trying to find much safer mountainous regions such as Kessab and Musa Dagh. During the 1850s Kessab turned into a mission field with the arrival of Evangelical and Catholic missionaries, raising anger among the Armenians of the region who were following the Armenian Apostolic Church. In the beginning of the 20th century, the population of Kessab region was around 6,000 (all Armenians), with more than 20 schools, as a result of denominational divisions.

In modern history, March 2014 saw Kessab and its surrounding villages subject to saw a multi-pronged attack by Turkish-backed ISIS and al-Nusra terrorists who advanced directly from Turkish territory to ethnically cleanse the Armenians of the area. Kessab is known for its unique Armenian dialect in addition to many notable Armenians hailing from the region, including Gabriel Injejikian, who went on to establish Ferrahian, the first Armenian day school in North America and Karekin I Sarkissian, Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia and later Catholicos of All Armenians.

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