YEREVAN—After a terse reaction by the United States regarding a mission deployed by Armenia to Syria, Armenia’s foreign ministry on Wednesday emphasized the humanitarian nature of the mission and sought to downplay the concerns expressed by the U.S. State Department.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Embassy in Armenia circulated a statement by the State Department, which expressed concerns over the deployment of the Armenian mission saying the U.S. did not “support any engagement with Syrian military forces, whether that engagement is to provide assistance to civilians or is military in nature.” The State Department also went on to warn Armenia about potential military engagement in Syria, and stressed that the U.S. did not support “any cooperation between Armenia and Russia for this mission.”
Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Anna Naghdalian said that the U.S. and Armenia, for years, have responded to the humanitarian tragedy that has plagued Syria and the ensuing refugee crisis that has displaced millions in the wake of the war there.
“We reiterate that during the entire process of the Syrian conflict Armenian people worldwide has followed the fate of the civilian people, minorities, including the Armenian community in Syria with great concern,” Naghdalian said.
“The Armenian public has expressed deep concern and compassion toward the suffering of the civilian population and the destruction of the country. This is a country that had a key contribution to the survival of the Armenian people who escaped the Genocide,” added Naghdalian, who explained that Armenia’s Consul General in Aleppo has worked non-stop during the Syrian crisis.
“Armenia has granted asylum to more than 22,000 Syrian refugees and has provided four airlifts of humanitarian aid to the Syrian people. Following the establishment of relative calm and security Armenia plans to continue its humanitarian mission, including providing doctors and specialists for humanitarian de-mining aimed at supporting the improvement of the living conditions of the war-stricken civilian population of Aleppo,” said Naghdalian.
“The Armenian mission is exclusively humanitarian nature, and is guided by the international humanitarian laws and will coordinate its activities with the institutions and international partners offering humanitarian aid on site,” emphasized Naghdalian.
“We share the concerns of the international community about the situation of the ethnic and religious minorities in the Middle East and highlight the continuity of humanitarian aid provided to Syria,” explained the foreign ministry spokesperson.