Battle of Marash - Massacre of Armenians

Massacre of Armenians

The three-week siege of Marash was also accompanied by the wholesale massacre of the Armenian repatriates. Roving Turkish bands threw kerosene-doused rags on Armenian homes and laid a constant barrage upon the American relief hospital. The Armenians themselves, as in previous times of trouble, sought refuge in their churches and schools. Women and children found momentary shelter in Marash's six Armenian Apostolic, three Armenian Evangelical churches and in the city's sole Catholic cathedral. The Armenian legionnaires attempted to put up a defense but were ultimately overwhelmed. All the churches and eventually the entire Armenian districts were put to the flame. The plight of the Armenians was only exacerbated when the French decided to pull out on February 10. When the 2,000 Armenians who had taken shelter in the Catholic cathedral attempted to follow the retreat, they were cut down by Turkish rifle and machine gun fire.

Early reports put the number of Armenian dead at no less than 16,000, although this was later revised down to 5,000–12,000, which were considered far more likely figures.

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