New York Times [FEB. 1917]Story of an Eyewitness--------------------------------------------------------------------------------THOUSANDS of exiles Armenians are held in Turkish prison camps in the Valley of the Euphrates and inNorthern Arabia and Syria. The first neutral to visit these camps ( he is not an American) has written areport of what he saw and handed it to the American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief, whichvouches for the reliability of the witness. The writer of the report says that he was permitted to visit theArmenian encampments all along the Euphrates, and was able to see and to gather data concerning theexiles."It is impossible," he writes, "to give an account of the impression of horror which me journey across theArmenian encampments scattered all along the Euphrates has given me, especially those on the right bank,between Meskene and Der-i-Zor. These can hardly be called encampments, because of the fact that themajority of these unfortunate people, brutally dragged out of their native land, torn from their homes andfamilies, robbed of their effects upon their departure or en route, are penned up in the open like cattle,without shelter, almost no clothing, and irregularly fed with food altogether insufficient."The writer says that the remnants of the Armenian nation disseminated along the Euphrates are composedof old men and women and children."Meskene, through its geographical position on the border between Syria and Mesopotamia," the writercontinues, "is the natural point of concentration of deported Armenians coming from the vilayets ofAnatilia and sent afterward all along the Euphrates. They arrive there by the thousands, but the majorityleave their bones there. The impression which this immense and dismal plain of Meskene leaves is sad. Thisinformation was obtained on the spot, and permit me to state that nearly 60,000 Armenians are buriesthere, carried off by hunger, by privations of all sorts, by intestinal diseases and resultant typhus. As faras the eye can reach mounds are seen containing 200, or 300 corpses buries in the ground pell mell, women,children and old people belonging to different families. At present nearly 4,500 Armenians are keptbetween the town of Meskene and the Euphrates. These are but living phantoms."I saw under a tent of five or six square meters about 450 grams of bread a day. However, at time, andthis is more often the case, they remain two days without eating anything them. This tent was sheltering450 victims while I was passing through. Eight days afterward, upon my return, disease had carried offseventeen of them."About Herrera is a small place north of Meskene on the bank of the Euphrates. It is the worst part of thedesert. On a small hill 200 meters from the river are confined 240 Armenians under the surveillance of twogendarmes."Similar conditions of suffering were found at Hammam, where there were 1,600 Armenians; at Rekka,where there were encamped. In conclusion, the writer says."I believe there are some 15,000 Armenians scattered about all along the Euphrates between Meskene andDer-i-Zor, passing through Rekka. As I have already said, these unfortunate people, abandoned, ill-treatedby the authorities, are gradually dying of starvation. Winter cold and dampness will add their victims tothose of famine. I funds are not sent, these unfortunate people are doomed."The London Times has received the personal narratives of two Mussulmans whose former official standingis known and those veracity has been tested by personal examination."In the month of August, 1915," relates one of these eye witnesses, "at about two hours from Zaart I sawmasses of Armenian bodies piled up in two ravines. I estimated the number at about 15,000. I learned thatthe Armenian Bishop of Zaart was not killed with the others, but at his own request had been shot in a cavenear by. On my way back from Zaart to Mush there were 500 Armenians herded together in a stable nearMush and locked in. Through an opening in the roof gendarmes threw flaming torches. I saw the flames andheard the screams of the victims, all of whom were burned alive.