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TREBIZOND
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The shimmering waters of the Black Sea glistened and danced. The prisoners were now dressed in uniforms, though they bore no official nametags or identification. They had relished their freedom, and they had trained well. Soon they would be dispatched from Trebizond to Ras-El-Ain and Chabur. From these locations, lying north of the desert, they could lie in wait for the deportees headed for Deir-El-Zor. Every man’s freedom depended on doing the job and doing it without remorse.

Besides, the Armenians were dogs. No one would miss them. The men of the Special Organization, SO, had gone through the tiny Armenian hamlets, rounding up the males from age fifteen to seventy.

"There is no reason to be alarmed," they had been told. "You will be taken to Rize. You are needed to stave off possible attack by the Russians."

Rize lay on the Black Sea some one hundred twenty-five kilometers to the northeast of Trebizond. There had been little protest; in a twisted logical way it made sense. If their countrymen on the Turkish side were close to the border, the Armenians serving on the Russian side might think twice before advancing. They had been obedient and now they stood in groups of eighteen men, and watched as the boats were brought in.

"Board the boats!"

They stepped into the wooden rowboats. In each, two SO soldiers sat behind the men. The boats began to drift off, the oars dipping into the cold water. The SO commander hurried away: it was important for him to report to Doctor Sakir and General Kamil.

The men had their orders. After the boats had gone ten kilometers, the SO soldiers sitting aft would shoot them. Then they would step forward and throw the dead and the dying overboard. The cold water would finish the rest.

 

 

TOWARD DIYARBEKIR =>
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