Kim Kardashian comments on Syria: Armenian reality TV star takes break from selfies to pledge support to #SaveKessab campaign

The reality TV star takes a break from posting selfies to take part in geopolitical debate. Sort of.

What’s on your mind after reading that headline?

“Oh, God, what on earth has she said now,” is highly likely. Or perhaps you’re asking, “Can she even point out where Syria is on a map?” or even “Has she mistaken Kessab for an exotic designer beauty brand?”

But love or loathe Kim Kardashian, the reality TV star has taken a break from her usual social media fodder of selfies, belfies and pictures of North West to pass comment on the ethically controversial Syrian civil war.

OK. So not a particularly in depth one. But a rare word on a geopolitics none-the-less.

Kardashian’s three-tweet series made what appears on the surface to be a simple appeal for the citizens of the Syrian town of Kessab, which has seen fighting intensify over the last couple of days.

Until very recently, Kessab was a stronghold for Bashar al-Assad, the Damascus dictator.

 

And while she wasn’t the only household name to lend her influence to #SaveKessab, the cause is one that is closer to her than most because of her Armenian background.


The  Kardashian family originate from Karakale, which is a village in East Turkey, close to the Armenian border and largely populated by ethnic Armenians.

A number of her relatives, including her great grandfather and great-great grandparents, were forced to flee their homes during the Armenian genocide in the years after World War 1.

The events that unfolded in Syria last week reminded many – presumably including Kardashian – of the plight of the Armenian people in the 1900s.

Syrian rebels advanced into the northwestern coastal province of Latakia, which is the ancestral home of the Assad family. The rebels included a number of hardline fighters from Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian franchise of al-Qaeda.

Since then, there have been several clashes between the rebel fighters and loyalists to the Assad regime in Kessab, which has prompted the flight of hundreds of Armenian Christians to Latakia.

Kessab has since been overtaken by the rebels.

Her backing of #SaveKessab has therefore received a mixed reaction from her followers. On the one hand, her passive involvement has been praised by the Syrian National Coalition.

“We are glad Kim Kardashian is taking an interest in this issue, as we too are concerned about extremist groups’ persecution of minorities,” a spokesperson for the group told The Daily Beast.

“The Free Syrian Army has put out a statement committed to protecting of citizens of Armenian descent and to maintaining the integrity of their religious sites and protecting them from the Assad's attacks and use of indiscriminate fire, which continue against innocent people.”

On the other, she - along with hundreds who succeeded in getting the hashtag trending worldwide - was criticised for promoting what some claim to be part of a stealth moment to support the Assad regime, using fake images of conflicts dating back to 2012 to exaggerate the extent of the fighting in the area: