YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — A senior Armenian lawmaker expressed confidence on Monday, February 11, that Western powers will not rebuke Armenia for deploying military personnel to Syria with Russia’s support.
The Armenian Defense Ministry sent 83 medics, demining experts and other military personnel to the Syrian city of Aleppo on Friday, February 8. It said they will help civilians and clear landmines left behind from the continuing bloody conflict in the Arab state.
The ministry attributed the deployment to “the severe humanitarian situation” in Aleppo, “written requests from the Syrian side,” and the existence of an Armenian community in Syria.
Andranik Kocharyan, the pro-government chairman of the Armenian parliament committee on defense and security, said that the thousands of ethnic Armenians in the war-ravaged city will now “feel safer.”
“Our Western partners will definitely understand this [deployment] because we are talking first and foremost about our [ethnic Armenian] compatriots living in Syria,” Kocharyan told RFE/RL’s Armenian service.
Armenia’s plans to send military personnel to Syria were first announced by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in September following his talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin held in Moscow.