20/4/1915 [Anatolia] The siege of Van intensifies

Armed Armenians have seized control of the town of Van in eastern Anatolia, fearing that the Turkish authorities are planning to massacre them. The Ottoman authorities bring army and paramilitary police units to try and suppress the rebels. They also bombard the town with heavy artillery. But the Turks are unable to storm Van.

The rebels are well armed and organised, more so than might be expected if the Van uprising was purely spontaneous. Perhaps having long feared the murderous intentions of their Turkish masters, the Armenians have made preparations to defend themselves, possibly securing Russian arms to aid in these efforts. Either way they are determined not to be dislodged from Van, knowing that if they do there will indeed be a terrible massacre. They establish a civil and military administration in Van, under the overall control of Aram Manukian. He realises that Van cannot hold out indefinitely. He determines to send messengers to the Russians, informing them of the situation and seeking their help.

map of eastern Anatolia (The Great War Blog)

defenders of Van (Wikipedia)

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