October 16
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His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia met today with President of Syria Bashar al-Assad at the presidential residence in Damascus.

The Holy See of Cilicia reports that the delegation of the Supreme Patriarch comprised leader of the Aleppo Diocese, Archbishop Shahan Sarkissian; Minister of Tourism of Lebanon Avedis Kitanian; deputies of the People’s Council of Syria Nora Arisian and Zhirayr Reyisian; member of the Central National Department Hrach Hagopian; member of the National Assembly of Delegates of the Aleppo Diocese Garo Youzbashian and crosier of the Supreme Patriarch, Abbot Hovakim Banjarjian.

The current state of Syria, as well as the issues and programs of the Armenian community were discussed during the meeting that lasted more than an hour.

The Supreme Patriarch expressed gratitude for the funds allocated by the President’s staff for renovation of the Church of Holy Forty Children in Aleppo and reminded about the cordial hospitality of the Syrian people following the Armenian Genocide.

The Supreme Patriarch also reminded that the Armenian community of Syria is important for both Armenia and Syria in terms of politics, culture and claims. He also expressed appreciation to the Syrian government for its full support to the Armenian Cause.

In his turn, welcoming the visit of His Holiness, the President praised the Armenians of Syria and stated that they are as equal as the Syrians and are connected to Syria with the same rights and obligations. He also called on the Syrian-Armenians having left the country due to the conditions in the country to return to Syria and rebuild their homes and workplaces, assuring that the Armenian community of Syria will continue to enjoy the government’s support.

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