On the morning of September 27, 2020, overwhelming support for the ethnic Armenians of Artsakh (or Nagorno-Karabakh) flooded social media in the wake of Azerbaijan’s unprovoked attack on the former autonomous oblast. Among Artsakh’s most ardent supporters were Syriac Christians, who, as a result of twentieth-century Anglo-French mapmaking, now straddle the Turkey-Syria border between warring nations.
Syriac support for Armenia is no recent phenomenon, as they are both enduring symbols of Christianity’s native presence in the Middle East. Armenia is the world’s oldest Christian state (AD 301), and the Syriac family of churches of northern Syria, southeast Turkey, and northern Iraq constitute the world’s oldest existing Christian community, the legacy of Antioch (AD 37). Armenians and Syriacs also share a common faith in Oriental Orthodox Christianity. Unfortunately, Turkey targets both groups today.