Armenia’s national air carrier, Armavia, is pledging more flights to the capital, Yerevan, as demand soars from ethnic Armenians fleeing the fighting in the Syrian city of Aleppo.
Over the last few weeks, RFE/RL’s Armenian Service has conducted several interviews with people as they exited the Aleppo-Yerevan flight. Reports from Aleppo paint a picture of intense firefights
and heavy shelling by government forces.
Ethnic Armenians are estimated to number from 60,000-80,000 in Syria, with the vast majority coming from Aleppo, a northern city with 2 million inhabitants.
Accounts of life there have differed greatly among those arriving at Yerevan's airport. In the most recent video, shot Wednesday, August 1, the mood has dampened, with witnesses seemingly more willing to discuss the dire situation they have fled.
Some still say the city is safe. Just a couple of weeks ago -- and up until earlier this week -- passengers arriving in Yerevan seemed far more upbeat or more unwilling to discuss a city at war. As readers can see in the videos below, assessments of the situation on the ground differ based largely on whether the person who fled Aleppo had intentions of returning or not.
Those who told RFE/RL they have every intention of staying in Armenia tended to be far more pessimistic about the situation in the city, with one woman breaking into tears describing the trip to the airport.
Others, though, say the city was largely calm and were quick to point out that Armenians there were safe because the part of the city they lived in was cut off from the fighting and protected by Syrian government forces.