Armenian mine clearing specialists head to Syria on humanitarian mission
A group of Armenian specialists arrived in the Syrian city of Aleppo on 8 February to participate in a humanitarian aid mission – 83 specialists travelled from Armenia to Syria.
“Assistance will be provided exclusively outside the zone of warfare. The Armenian specialists will carry out humanitarian activities related to demining, raising awareness among the population about mines, and the the provision of medical assistance in Aleppo,” the Press Secretary of the Ministry of Defence of Armenia, Artsrun Hovhannisyan wrote on his Facebook page.
Armenia’s participation in the humanitarian aid mission was announced in September of last year, when Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan announced the news after a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Pashinyan also stressed at the time that the Armenian specialists would not be involved in the hostilities:
“This is an exclusively humanitarian programme, and has no military significance. We intend to implement this programme within the framework of the budgetary possibilities of Armenia. All costs of the humanitarian programme have been taken into account in the draft budget for 2019.”
However, Hovhannisyan said that the transportation of the Armenian specialists to Syria, as well as their logistical support, “will be carried out with the support of [Russia]”.
Why is Armenia participating in this mission?
“The decision to provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Syria was made in view of the tragic situation in the country and, in particular, in Aleppo as a result of hostilities, the resolutions of the UN Security Council of 2017 and 2018, the written appeals of the Syrian side, as well as the fact that there is a large Armenian community residing there.”