Minsk (Associated Press) – 02/08/2022. 07:15
Belarus opposition denounces sending troops to Syria
- Belarus plans to send about 200 soldiers to Syria to fight alongside Russian forces
- The move was strongly condemned by the leader of the Belarusian opposition, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya
- Russia is leading a military campaign in Syria in cooperation with Iran to support the Bashar al-Assad regime
In a move that drew strong condemnation from the Belarusian opposition leader, plans to Belarus To send about 200 soldiers to Syria to fight alongside Russian forces, according to the Associated Press, citing a Russian government document announced on Monday.
The agency stated that a draft agreement between Russia and its ally Belarus, approved by the Russian Prime Minister, Mikhail Mishustin, indicates that the Belarusian forces will work to provide “humanitarian aid” to the population outside the conflict areas.
The document, which has not yet been approved by the Ministries of Defense and Foreign Affairs of both countries (Russia and Belarus), indicates that the Belarusian forces will operate under the command and supervision of the Russian forces in Syria upon arrival.
It is worth noting that Russia is leading a military campaign in Syria in cooperation with Iran to support the regime of Bashar al-Assad, and to re-establish its control over the country since the outbreak of the revolution in 2011.
The agency confirmed that the Belarusian support reflects the close military relations of the two former neighbors in the era of the Soviet Union.
Over the past weeks, Moscow has been keen to transfer troops from Siberia and the Far East to Belarus for joint military exercises, but this military buildup has increased Russian forces near the border with Ukraine, causing a global diplomatic crisis and a similar buildup of NATO forces amid fears of an invasion of Ukraine.
It is noteworthy that the Belarusian President, Alexander Lukashenko, recently relied on Moscow’s political and financial support in light of the Western sanctions imposed on him after he suppressed protests in his country, and called for a defensive rapprochement with Russia, which was recently reflected in a proposal to receive Russia’s nuclear weapons.
For her part, the Belarusian opposition leader, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, opposed the decision, which is the most prominent competitor to Lukashenko, but she was forced to leave her country after winning a sixth round in the last presidential elections in August 2020, which the opposition and Western countries referred to as “rigged.”
The Associated Press quoted Tikhanovskaya, describing the Belarusian pledge to send troops to Syria as an appreciation of Moscow’s support, noting that the decision violates the country’s constitution and contradicts the national interest.
“Lukashenko is manipulating Belarus for the support he received in 2020, which helped him stay in power,” she said.