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Will Belarus soldiers end up in Syria?

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Photo: BBC.com

Russia has approached Belarus and other CIS member states about a possible deployment of a peacekeeping contingent in Syria to carry out monitoring missions in the de-escalation zones. The proposal was voiced at the 'Syria talks' in Astana by the head of Russian delegation and Special Envoy on Syria Alexander Lavrentsyev. Does Belarus have a peacekeeping contingent? Can it take part in peacekeeping missions?

There are two peacekeeping contingents: a peacekeeping company under NATO's Partnership for Peace program, which trains according to the Western methods. The other contingent exists under the CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization) as a rapid deployment force which was only recently granted a mandate for UN peacemaking operations," defense commentator Alikasandr Alesin tells Euroradio. "I reckon if the dispatch of peacemaking forces takes place indeed, it will be the CSTO contingentment  - only professional soldiers serving under the contract. Most likely, it will be Interior Ministry special ops commandos."

What does the so called "joint monitoring in Syria's de-escalation zones mean?

I think it is about monitoring the implementation of the agreements on security zones," Aliaksandr Alesin says. "Whereever the conflicting forces will be disarmed (Assad's opponents in the first place), the Syrian army will be deployed along the perimiter. Inside ths area, the situation will be controlled by peacekeepers."

Under Belarus' military doctrine, Armed Forces serve to defend the country's territory and cannot take part in foreign conflicts. Hence, in order to participate in peacemaking missions, every soldier must write to the president asking for permission to take part in the mission. Otherwise, it will be a violation of the Constitution.

As of today, only Ministry of Emergencies workers represented Belarus in international pacekeeping operations.

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