The Russian government's decision to approve an agreement with Belarus on humanitarian aid to Syria has provoked speculation that the Russian military mission will soon be joined by a contingent from the former Soviet republic. At least, that is what the official text of the pact stipulates. Nevertheless, President Alexander Lukashenko categorically objected to this interpretation, pointing out that right now Minsk has enough of its own problems to deal with. But talks about sending Belarusian troops to Syria have been going on for years, and the Belarusian opposition claims that a specific plan to send troops has long been agreed upon.
Lukashenko said during a Feb. 8 meeting of the United Nations Security Council that he was surprised by the news that the Russian government approved the sending of the Belarusian military to Syria, and called the reports false. “I haven't sent anyone there,” Lukashenko said, adding that Syria had asked for humanitarian assistance and that he discussed sending military medics there at some point. “If they need doctors, we will offer help. But not now — we have plenty of our own problems now and the [coronavirus] pandemic isn't over,” he said.