Turkish Genocides: Where did the deported go?
It is obvious that the purpose of the deportations was to let the evacuated die on the way from thirst and starvation, and to enrol usable girls as breeding machines for the Muslim society. The American consul in Mosul writes on July 28th from Trapezunt about these transports:
The entire Muslim population has been informed in advance that when a transport arrives, it is legal booty, and they are treating them like criminals. In Trapezunt on June 25th a proclaimation was made that it is not legal for any Armenian to buy anything, or for others to buy anything from an Armenian. (Brentjes p. 10)
Those who did not die under ways were led into the desert of Syria, where they were shot and thrown into mass graves, or merely disposed of without any kind of ‘burial’. Some were thrown into the Euphrates while still alive.
The German priest, Dr. Lepsius, who undertook great efforts to save the Armenians, wrote: “On April 15th 1916 four forced deportations with a total of 19,000 Armenians were sent to Mosul (in present-day Iraq), 300 km across the desert. From these transports, on may 22nd a mere 2500 arrived to the city of Mosul.”
A letter written by a German diplomat Bünter and two German officers who in 1917 wanted to see where the deported ended up. They had themselves experienced four transports in 1916 and to see with their own eyes what had become of them.
Bünter writes: “Aleppo, May 11th 1917. In the days from April 1st to 6th I have travelled with major Loeschebrandt and officer Lagenegger. We walked from Buseir by the Euphrates upwards, and found on the left side of the river heaps of bleached human craniums and skeletons, many craniums having holes form bullets. In several places we saw old funeral fires filled with scorched craniums and bones. Opposite to Kischka Scheddade was found great amounts of these fires. The people living there told that in this place alone, 12,000 Armenians had been shot and their bodies burned and thrown into the river.” (Burchard Brentjes p. 13)
From other reports it can be seen that the Syrian desert was the execution ground for thousands, often forced to dig their own mass graves before being executed. Non-Muslim witnesses to the massacres were frequently killed. The American consul in Trapezunt told about a locally known Russian by the name Wartan, who sailed from the city with the Armenians in several large boats. On the way all Armenians were killed, and two days later the Russian returned with a large wound in his head, heavily confused and having difficulties speaking. All he could say was “Bum, bum.” The next day he died in the hospital. (Brentjes, p. 11)
The consul also writes of the many drowned Armenians:
“I have talked to travellers, who related that many naked bodies were stuck in trees and branches in the river. The stench must have been terrifying.”