ISIS destroys Armenian genocide memorial church

News agencies in the Middle East report that ISIS militants have destroyed the Armenian Genocide Memorial Church in Der Zor, the Syrian site where Turkish forces established concentration camps for deported Armenians during World War I—known as the "Auschwitz of the Armenian Genocide." The reports surfaced as Armenia was celebrating the 23rd anniversary of its independence Sept. 21. Armenia's Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian issued a statement calling the destruction of the church a "horrible barbarity." The church was built in 1990, and consecrated a year later. A memorial and  museum housing remains of the genocide victims was also built in the church compound. Thousands of Armenians from Syria and neighboring countries gathered at the memorial every year on April 24 to commemorate the genocide. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians perished in Der Zor and the surrounding desert during the genocide. (Armenian Weekly, Sept. 21)