Armenia sends another humanitarian aid shipment to Syria
Armenia, together with Russia, has sent another humanitarian aid shipment to Syria. Yerevan provides peacekeeping assistance to Damascus since the outbreak of the war.
The shipment consists of nine containers, with meat and fish stews (87.5 tonnes), sugar (40 tonnes) as well as other dry rations (14.5 tonnes).
The cargo will be handed over to the Red Crescent of Syria, which will distribute the cargo.
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Armenia’s humanitarian mission in Syria
After the end of the active phase of hostilities in Syria, Armenia sent a humanitarian mission to the country in 2019, consisting of demining specialists and doctors – a total of 83 people were sent.
The Armenian government has repeatedly emphasised that it is pursuing exclusively peaceful goals in Syria and is limited only to humanitarian activities.
“Assistance will be provided exclusively outside the combat zone. Armenian specialists will carry out humanitarian activities related to mine clearance, mine awareness, and the provision of medical care in Aleppo”, said Artsrun Hovannisyan, spokesman for the Armenian Ministry of Defense.
Agreement between Armenia and Russia
The decision to establish a humanitarian operation in Syria was made public in September of last year. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan even then stated that Armenian specialists would not be involved in hostilities:
“This is an exclusively humanitarian programme, and has no military significance. We intend to implement this programme within the framework of the budgetary opportunities of Armenia. All expenses for the humanitarian program are included in the draft budget for 2019.”
However, the press secretary of the Ministry of Defence Artsrun Hovhannisyan said that the transportation of Armenian specialists to Syria, as well as their logistic support, “are carried out with the support of [Russia]”.
A spokesman for the Armenian Defense Ministry explained the rationale to establish a humanitarian mission in Syria:
“The decision to provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Syria was made by taking into account the critical situation that has arisen in this country and, in particular, in Aleppo as a result of hostilities, and the UN Security Council resolutions of 2017 and 2018, in addition to written requests from the Syrian side, as well as the factor that there is a large Armenian community there.”