While Cemal Pasha was ruling in Syria, the deportation of the Armenians in Anatolia was decided upon. During the transportation process, a great number of them were sent to Syria for resettlement. Therefore, the Syrian land has a special place in the history of the Armenian deportations and a detailed analysis of the policy of Syria’s de facto absolute ruler toward the Armenian refugees is of great importance both for understanding the nature of Cemal’s rule in Syria and for the clarification of discussions on the Armenian question. There were some similarities between Cemal’s treatment of the Armenians and the policies he implemented with regard to the other Syrian communities. As in his approach to Arabism and Zionism, Cemal tried to increase the state’s control over the Armenians by partitioning them into small groups in Syria. In this way, the Armenians would be prevented from becoming a potential political threat to “the unity of the Ottomans” in the future. Although this policy was a kind of ethnic engineering, it is noteworthy that Cemal did not aim at the Turkification or Islamization of the deported Armenian community, as generally claimed in the existing literature. His actions were mainly an attempt to “shape” the conduct of the Armenians in the interests of Ottoman unity. In spite of the abundance of academic studies on the Armenian deporta-

tions, the scarcity of studies on the Syrian part of the deportation process in comparison to the incidents that took place in the Anatolian provinces makes it important to develop a complete understanding of the subject. As will be analyzed below, most of the academic studies on this subject either minimize the Syrian part of the process or misinterpret it out of political concerns. Therefore, before proceeding to an analysis of the treatment of the Armenians in Syria by Cemal Pasha, this chapter will set out to evaluate the existing literature on the topic. After that, the analysis will be restricted to the opinions and activities of Cemal Pasha regarding the resettlement of the Armenian refugees in Syria, primarily with reference to the dispatches by regional Ottoman officials, the memoirs and diaries of the deportees, and the reports of local consuls. Meanwhile, it is worth mentioning that telegrams sent by the Ottoman officials in the region are rarely used in studies on the Armenian deportations. Unlike the existing literature, this study will attempt to use these

documents both to demonstrate the differences among the Ottoman bureaucrats regarding their attitude toward the Armenian deportees and to understand Cemal’s policy regarding the Armenians.1