From Mousaler to Anjar

The Evacuation of Mousa Dagh’s

Armenian Villages

Considering the fact that the region of Sanjak would be permanently annexed to Turkey on the 23rd of 1939 (according to the French-Turkish treaty signed in Paris), the local inhabitants were obliged to evacuate the "turkish” lands within the week preceding that date.

The emigration from Sanjak had already begun in 1938, when turkish forces entered the region. Between the fall of 1938 and the winter of 1939, 70% of the Armenians had already left the region.

The evacuation of Mousa Dagh began on the 17th of July 1939. The painful memory of their previous emigration was still engraved in their minds, when Mousadaghians were once again forced to be separated from their own villages and mountains. All villagers were first gathered along the roadside and then, within hours and under turkish police surveillance, they were transported to Syria and Kessab by cars. Heavy loads were sent to Syria on small boats.

On the 23th of July, Mousa Dagh villages were totally evacuated, except a few families who remained in the village of Vakef and decided to stay there, these villagers survived in the region and in 1998 they built their new church.

Until the 23rd of July 1939, 35,000 Armenians and 20,000 Arabs and Circassians from Sanjak (Mousa Dagh and Kerek Khan) left the region and settled in Syria or Lebanon.

Bassit, 25 km to the south - west of Kessab on the coastline, became the temporary residence of Mousadaghians, until the French authorities arranged their final settlement in Anjar (in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon).

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