The calamity of 1909

The first agonizing disaster in Kessab happened in 1909. A rabble of 5000 Turkish men invaded Kessab from the eastern border on the 10th till the 23rd of April 1909. After the Turks plundered and set fire in Sev Aghpour, Eskouran, Chinarjek and Khayet villages, they surrounded the Town of Kessab from tree sides. The afflicted villagers took refuge in Kessab, but the Turks succeeded to destroy by fire a part of the town despite the armed resistance of almost 300 weapon carrying men. The Armenians then took refuge in the mountains and the seaside of Karadouran. After the Turks robbed and burnt the town of Kessab, they set ahead towards Karadouran and succeeded to burn the houses in the upper part of the village. The Armenians meanwhile moved towards the Turkish village Badrousieh and from there to Bassit where a French boat called Nijer transported them to the city of Lattakia.
A relief association was established in Lattakia headed by Rev. Movses Voskerichian to assist the disastrous and to fulfill their essential needs and to provide accommodation to them collaborating with the Hokedoun (the Local Armenian church) with some Arab churches and individual families.

This calamity cost the Armenians 161 deaths and a massive material loss.

After the situation had calmed, the refugees whose properties were intact returned to their houses, while those who had lost everything, returned after a year from Lattakia and rebuilt their houses.

Some Armenian and other benevolent associations provided assistance to the afflicted population of Kessab after they have survived the calamity.

After the calamity, the Armenian Catholicos Sahag Khabaian visited Kessab.

Soon after the Kessabtsies returned to their town, they established an orphanage, a society for widows and youth vocational workshops. They also endeavored to improve the financial status. In particular, they enhanced the constructions within the town. At this particular time, they started to construct churches and schools and cultural centers. Most of these establishments are still active today and continue to serve the Armenian inhabitants in Kessab.