Armenia’s Humanitarian Mission to Syria Upsets U.S.

Armenian military personnel load a plane for a humanitarian mission to Syria on Feb. 8, 2019
A farewell ceremony at the Yerevan airport before the deployment of a military humanitarian mission to Syria on Feb. 8, 2019

A farewell ceremony at the Yerevan airport before the deployment of a military humanitarian mission to Syria on Feb. 8, 2019

Armenia’s Defense Ministry dispatched 83 medics, de-mining experts and other military servicemen to Aleppo, Syria on Friday on what the ministry called a humanitarian mission to help locals in their efforts to de-mine civilian areas and provide medical assistance.

“The Armenian specialists will carry out humanitarian de-mining, de-mining training of the population and medical services provision activities in the areas of Aleppo that are free of military operations,” Armenia’s Defense Ministry spokesperson Artsrun Hovhannisyan said on Friday.

“The decision on providing professional humanitarian assistance by Armenia to the Syrian people has been made taking into account the current humanitarian crisis in Syria—especially in Aleppo—caused by the military operations, as well as [relevant] UN resolutions, written requests from Syria, as well as the presence of large Armenian community in Aleppo,” the spokesperson elaborated.

On Tuesday, Defense Minister Davit Tonoyan defended the deployment. During a press conference with his Cypriot counterpart Savvas Angelides, who was visiting Armenia, Tonoyan assured that the mission adheres to the letter of the law. He also added that “necessary” engagement of the group in “hostilities” in Syria would also be carried out “in accordance with the letter of the law.”

Armenian military personnel load a plane for a humanitarian mission to Syria on Feb. 8, 2019

Armenian military personnel load a plane for a humanitarian mission to Syria on Feb. 8, 2019

Armenia’s latest mission to Syria has upset the United States with the State Department issuing a terse statement that was distributed to the press by the U.S. Embassy in Yerevan on Wednesday.

“We recognize the desire of other nations to respond to the humanitarian situation in Syria, and we share the concerns about protecting religious minorities in the Middle East,” the U.S. State Department said on Wednesday. “However, we do not support any engagement with Syrian military forces, whether that engagement is to provide assistance to civilians or is military in nature.”

“Nor do we support any cooperation between Armenia and Russia for this mission. Russia has partnered with the Assad regime to slaughter civilians and trigger a humanitarian catastrophe. Russia continues to protect the Assad regime and its atrocities on a global stage,” the statement added.

The mission was deployed to Syria at the same time Tonoyan was meeting in Moscow with his Russian counterpart Sergey Shoygu, who thanked Armenia for the “humanitarian” assistance.

The deployment of military personnel to Syria has become a point of contention for the U.S. as it maneuvers relations with Russia. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan hinted about the mission in September after meeting with President Vladimir Putin of Russia in Moscow. In October, U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton discussed the issue with Armenia’s leadership when he visited Yerevan. He was given assurances that the mission would not have any combat components.

“We have no such plans,” Pashinyan told Parliament on Wednesday about the possibility of an Armenian combat mission being deployed to Syria.

The current Armenian mission to Syria—not the first—is taking place with the backdrop of President Trump’s announcement of a withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria and concerns of an increased role by Moscow in the absence of American presence in Syria.

Ruben Arakelyan, the director of the Armenian Center For Humanitarian De-mining and Expertise said that providing Armenia’s assistance in that effort was discussed with the Syrian Embassy in Yerevan as far back as 2017.

Authors

Discussion Policy

Comments are welcomed and encouraged. Though you are fully responsible for the content you post, comments that include profanity, personal attacks or other inappropriate material will not be permitted. Asbarez reserves the right to block users who violate any of our posting standards and policies.

20 Comments

  1. HAGOP said:

    BOO HOO!!!! WAAAAAA!!!!! IF THE UNITED STATES CARES SO MUCH ABOUT ARMENIA, THEN IT WILL SAC UP AND RECOGNIZE THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE BY PUNISHING TURKEY!!!!!!!! IT WAS BECAUSZE OF GENOCIDE THAT ARMENIANS ARE LIVING IN SYRIA!!!!! NOTHING PERSONAL U.S.A.!!!!!!! BE BRAVE AND LEAD THE WORLD BY PUNISHING THE TOORKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Ruben Markosyan said:

    So the United States is
    Unconcerned when the Obama administration
    Covertly arms ISIS who then
    Kill and slaughter
    Minorities and civilians in Syria
    Yet when Armenia
    Decides to send humanitarian assistance to Syria, the Unites States
    Issues a terse warning to not provide assistance to the vary people their actions harmed. The US is
    Contradicting itself by claiming to care about the Syrian people while attempting to
    Kneecap all humanitarian aide.

    • Robert said:

      There must be some miscommunication here. The quoted State Dept. reaction here (concerning humanitarian aid) must be confused with that of one Nicholas Maduro of Venezuela. Perhaps they are in league.

  3. State of Emergency said:

    Russia should have foreseen the US reaction and should have prevented Armenia from participating in the first place. Unless, and of course, it’s a Russian inspired ploy to shove a wedge between the US and Armenia. After all, Armenia is merely a pawn that does what it is told and when it is told.

    • Sevan said:

      Most probably you also understand that Armenia exists today thanks to Russia. I am not advocating for bad realtions with U.S or any other Western country especially not the U.S where over a million people of Armenian ancestry live. We are also small to antagonize anybody however history shows us that they mostly watch and do nothing when we get slaughtered. Eastern Christians mostly got nothing from them rather than broken promises. Yes between Russia and them I will prefer Russia. Priests had their heads cut off by Bedouin Barbarians.None of them said a word or did something. Russia hunted them and at least brought hope to these communities. Armenia sent humanitarian aid. I don’t see in that something which can bother anybody.

  4. Armanen said:

    The snakes at the state dept and the usg in general can go to hell. They ruin all countries they get involved in, either physically or metaphorically.

  5. Raffi said:

    In any part of the world, if it’s humanitarian help, politics should not be involved.

  6. Hagop Varoujian said:

    The US upset?!! Who gives a tosh?!!! The US government cannot even put her own house in order! They don’t even have the guts to face up to Turkey and recognise the Armenian genocide. Of course The US dare not upset the mighty Turks but wouldn’t think twice about bullying a poor and insignificant country like Armenia. Yes, I am angry!

  7. Krikor Aghajanian said:

    I hope the Armenians helping out in Syria, photograph and publish the names of the countries of origin of the land mines. That soul be interesting to see. I also think that moron Bolton is planning a trip to Armenia, to lecture us once more. Open the door to Iranian oil and gas.

  8. HERAYER said:

    WHERE WAS THE USA WHEN GENOCIDAL TURKEY GAVE ORDERS TO ISIS TO ATTACK PEACEFUL KESSAB,SYRIA WHICH WAS INHABITED BY ARMENIANS,SYRIA HELPED THE ARMENIANS THAT ESCAPED FROM BEING SLAUGHTERED BY ISIS YOU CAN HERE ONE OF THE ISIS FIGHTERS IN A VIDEO ASK OLD ARMENIANS IN KESSAB (FEE BANAT HOWN) MEANING (IS THERE ANY GIRLS HERE) WE WANT TO RAPE ARMENIAN WOMEN GO TO HELL YOU BASTARDS, ARMENIA IS THE DOING THE RIGHT THING WE AS ARMENIANS ARE HUMANITARIAN, ALSO I BELIEVE THAT THE WEST,TURKEY IN COLUSION WITH SOME ARAB COUNTRIES ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE TERIBBLE SLAUGHTER WHERE WAS AMERICA WHEN ISIS WAS SLAUHTERING CHRISTIANS

  9. Mike Sarian said:

    Armenia should help the Armenian population of Syria. If there were Jews in Syria Israel will be the first to help regardless what anybody says anything!
    Tell the State department to take a hike! mind your own business. Armenia should help the Armenian populations anywhere in the world.

  10. Satenik said:

    There are lots of things that US does that upsets millions if not billions of people in the world. I wish they could just mind their own business and isolate themselves!

  11. Ararat said:

    The US hypocrisy knows no bounds. When their Muslim Turkish terrorist NATO ally in 1993, and ever since, blockaded and closed borders with Armenia without any provocations from Armenia they did not get upset. When in 1974 the same Turkish terrorist ally invaded and occupied Northern Cyprus, the invasion planned with US knowledge and weapons supplied by the US itself, they did not get upset. When the same Turkish terrorist ally stood aside to allow its ISIS criminal collaborators to attack and kill US Kurdish allies and massacre and violate Yezidis they did not get upset. When their other beloved ally Israel, their 51st state effectively, sold $1.1 billion worth of deadly weapons to use against Armenians they did not get upset. While their newly-found oil-rich pseudo-Turkish artificial Azerbaijani state planned the April 2016 surprise attack on Artsakh, with US knowledge and with participation of their Turkish allies, they did not only did not get upset but never ever condemned.

    So, given their duplicitous track records and cunning nature, who cares if the US is upset? What are they going to do, cut the few million dollar annual aid they give to Armenia? The Armenians can raise whatever the amount in an hour. I guess that much more to $3.5 billion annual aid, robbed from unsuspecting US taxpayers, they give to their co-conspirator Israel ($20 billion annually in reality) to invent and manufacture more deadly weapons to exploit conflicts across the region to profit from. No need to be concerned about what a wolf in sheep’s clothing is upset about!

  12. Sonya said:

    This particular news annoyed me as I found the whole gist of it so incredibly hypocritical. In fact this is hypocrisy in the highest. A humanitarian project is criticised while there has been ample evidence of Turkey actually aiding and funding ISIS. Where is the actual governance in all of this? Obviously the truth of the admonishment lies deeper than we are meant to see. The whole thing is laughable.

  13. A said:

    US is technically default on its debt and doesn’t have the right to dictate to Armenia.

*

Top