December 16, 2017 - 10:42 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The integration of so many Syrian refugees who moved to Armenia in the wake of the wake in the Middle East was relatively easy as the new arrivals had the same ethnicity, religion and language, Al Jazeera said in an article about the way the Syrians found a way to cope with the unfortunate circumstances.
According to the publication, It is not clear whether any of the 20,000 Syrian refugees moved on to other countries or returned to Syria, but the initial number put Armenia - with its population of 2.9 million - high up on the list of the countries with the highest per capita ratios of refugees to nationals - six refugees to 1,000 locals.
"Initially they're taken a little bit like foreigners ... Armenia is mono-ethnic, so people here don't know how to deal with others," said Anush Babajanyan, a photographer featured in a special exhibition that celebrates the Syrian-Armenians' positive impact on the country's mono-ethnic society.
"But Syrian Armenians are very communicable, open and lively so a lot of the times they make the right first step and that helps."
Some of the Syrian Armenians even settled in Nagorno Karabakh (Artsakh). They were lured by free rural accommodation provided by the de facto government and the prospect of feeding their families by working the land.
Armenian foreign minister Edward Nalbandian has said on different occasions that the country has hosted around 20,000 refugees from Syria.