Before the Syrian conflict, the culturally diverse city of Aleppo was home to ethnic and religious minorities, including a large community of 1915 Armenian Genocide survivors and their descendants. Due to its strong and vibrant community, Aleppo was often viewed as the “Mother Community” of the Armenian Diaspora.

The Syrian conflict began in early 2011, however, violence in the country was not immediately widespread. In the summer of 2012, when the armed conflict reached Aleppo, many Syrians of ethnic Armenian roots fled to Armenia.

The sudden influx of Syrians to Armenia brought with it the challenge of integrating a large immigrant population into Armenia’s rigid economic and social fabric. At the time, no one understood the challenges of Syrian refugees better than Syrians themselves.

Recognizing the urgent need to raise the concerns of Syrians in Armenia and advocate for the protection of their rights, a group of Syrians held a meeting on August 17, 2013, where the participants unanimously voted in favor of establishing Aleppo Compatriotic Charitable Organization (Aleppo-NGO) and elected Ani Balkhian as president. The participants pledged their commitment to the realization of the organization’s objectives and mission.

Accordingly, Aleppo Compatriotic Charitable Organization (Aleppo-NGO) was officially registered in Armenia on October 28, 2013. Since then, the organization has stayed true to its founding ideals and continues to organize activities and programs to promote the integration of Syrians in Armenia, while preserving Syrian and Western Armenian cultural values and traditions.

Founding Members

Salpi Akaragian (USA), Sona Azelian, Zadig Balabanian, Ani Balkhian, Sarkis Balkhian, Dzovig Baytarian, Hasmig Berberian, Mirey Boyajian, Talin Chemberjian, Dikran Kapoyan, Rita Karagulian, Salpi Karagulian, Tsoler Karagulian, Maral Karakashian (USA), Salpi Kasbarian (Syria), Mher Keshishian, Gacia Keshishian, Berj Kirazian, Diana Kirazian, Varty Kouyoumjian, Aida Minassian, Lea Papazian (Germany), Sevan Tufenkjian, Barkevouhi Vartabedian, and Betty Yessayan