Dozens of Armenian soldiers fly to Syria for 'non-combatant' roles

Dozens of Armenian soldiers fly to Syria for 'non-combatant' roles
The Armenian military personnel will provide medical aid and de-mining services for the Syrian regime.
2 min read
09 February, 2019
Armenia is providing military support to the Syrian regime [Getty]
Scores of Armenian troops have arrived in Syria to fulfill a range of non-combatant roles in regime areas, following a request from Moscow, the defence ministry has reported.

Among the military personnel taking part in the rare overseas deployment are de-mining experts, medical corps staff and security officers.

At least 83 soldiers will take provide mine clearance and medical services in areas outside fighting, in areas such as Aleppo.

Russia - which has provided huge military support to Bashar al-Assad's regime throughout the war - will fly in the troops and provide logistical assistance to the Armenian team, Artsrun Hovhannisyan, defence ministry spokesperson has said.

Russia and Armenia have close ties, with a Russian military base in the Caucasus' state. Moscow has also provided military aid to Yerevan.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu thanked Armenia for the military support it was providing.

"You were the first to respond to our call to provide assistance to the Syrian people," he said.

Syria has a large native Armenian population, with tens of thousands moving to Armenia during the war. Most came a hundred years ago from Anatolia, following Ottoman massacres in Armenian areas during the First World War.

Russia and Iran have been the Syrian government's principle backers, while smaller forces from the Egyptian and North Korean regimes also rumoured to have been deployed.

Syria's war broke out in 2011, when the Syrian regime brutally suppressed a wider protests - and then an insurrection - against decades of oppressive Baathist rule.

Since then, at least 500,000 people have lost their lives, mostly Syrian civilians killed in regime and Russian bombing.