February 14, 2019 - 10:43 AMT
Armenia "takes note" of U.S. reaction to Syria humanitarian mission

The Foreign Ministry has taken note of the statement by the U.S. Department of State in connection with the deployment of the Armenian Humanitarian Mission to Syria (AHM), spokeswoman Anna Naghdalyan said a news briefing on Wednesday, February 13.

"Armenia and the U.S. have long worked together to address the current humanitarian catastrophe in Syria with its massive refugee and displacement crises," Naghdalyan said.

"I would like to repeat that throughout the Syrian conflict the plight of civilians, minorities, including the sizable Syrian-Armenian community has consistently been a priority concern for the Armenian people worldwide.

"The Armenian public opinion strongly reflects deep compassion and concern for the sufferings of civilians and the devastation of the country. We speak about a country which has had an indispensable contribution for the survival of the Armenian nation in the wake of the Genocide. The Armenian Consul General has never stopped operating throughout the crisis. To date Armenia has sheltered around 22000 Syrian refugees and has dispatched 4 airplanes of humanitarian aid to the Syrian people. With the establishment of a relative normalcy and security, Armenia is now keen to continue its contribution to the humanitarian mission, including by providing doctors and humanitarian sappers, to help improve the livelihoods of civilians in the conflict-torn Aleppo. AHM is a purely relief mission guided by the International Humanitarian Law and coordinates its work with the relief agencies and international partners present on the ground."

"We share the concerns of the international community with regard to the plight of the ethnic and religious minorities in the Middle East and attach importance to the continued provision of humanitarian support in Syria," Naghdalyan added.

The Department of State said “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. 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,” the response of the U.S. Department of State, provided by U.S. Embassy in Armenia says.

“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 response says.