1900-1999 A.D. Assyrian History

1915: The Letter of Rev. E.T. Allen of Urmia, Describing the Massacre at Ismail Agha's Kala
by Rev. E.T. Allen
Posted: Tuesday, July 18, 2000 02:59 pm CST


Politically, things are in apparently good order. People are easily frightened and are nervous, but we have good hopes. Yesterday I went to the Kala of Ismael Agha and from there to Kasha, and some men went with me up the road to the place where the Gawar men were murdered by the Turks. It was a gruesome sight---perhaps the worst I have seen at all.

There were seventy-one or two bodies ; we could not tell exactly, because of the conditions. It is about six months since the murder. Some were in fairly good condition---dried, like a mummy. Others were torn to pieces by the wild animals. Some had been daggered in several places, as was evident from the cuts in the skin. The majority of them had been shot. The ground about was littered with empty cartridge-cases. It was a long way off from the Kala, and half-an-hour's walk from the main road into the most rugged gorge I have seen for some time. I suppose the Turks thought no word could get out from there---a secret, solitary, rocky gorge. How those three wounded men succeeded in getting out and reaching the city is more of a marvel than I thought it was at the time. The record of massacre burials now stands as follows :--

At Tcharbash, forty in one grave, among them a bishop. At Gulpashan, fifty-one in one grave, among them the most innocent persons in the country; and now, above the Kala of Ismael Agha, seventy in one grave, among them leading merchants of Gawar.

These one hundred and sixty-one persons, buried by me, came to their death in the most cruel manner possible, at the hands of regular Turkish troops in company with Kurds under their command.



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