Syrian insurgents filmed vehicles produced by Minsk Automobile Plant (MAZ) in the territory of Assad’s military base. According to the experts, it is not only automobiles and tractors that Minsk sells Syria.
The Belarusian authorities do not deny that Bashar al-Assad’s regime is one of their key partners in Middle East: the country furnishes us with cotton fabrics and medicines. In its turn, Belarus exports tractors and vehicles to Syria. But these goods are likely to be used for military purposes.
International community accuses Belarus of selling weapons and military technology to al-Assad. “Tiny Belarus is helping Assad improve the accuracy of its surface-to-surface missiles. That support has allowed Assad’s armed forces to retain a massive military advantage over the ragtag and poorly-organized Free Syrian Army,” Yochi Dreazen, a columnist of National Journal, states.
Belarusian military analyst Aliaksandr Alesin believes that Belarus has an opportunity to supply arms to Syria only through the mediation of Russia: “Nothing can be sent to Syria from Belarus during the army actions. Only Russia which is guarded by its military fleet is able to carry out such deliveries, especially since Moscow has had its own military port in its disposition. However, there are a lot of Belarusian component parts in Russian arms, i.e. sighting systems, laser devices, communications equipment, etc. Thus, I can not rule out that Belarusian production are supplied to Syria as constitutive elements, i.e. Belarus may act as a subsupplier”.
On September 19, 2012 the U.S. Department of the Treasury imposed sanctions against entities that support the Assad regime’s efforts to procure arms and communications equipment that contribute to the regime’s violence against the Syrian people. Belvneshpromservice, a Belarusian state-owned unitary export and import enterprise, is also on the list. According to the Department, Syria’s Army Supply Bureau and Belarus-based Belvneshpromservice are being designated pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13382, which targets the assets of proliferators of weapons of mass destruction and their supporters.
“All charges of the American side to the Belvneshpromservice company are groundless and do not correspond with reality. It is no more than an attempt to exert pressure on Belarus for the open and principal position of our country in regard to peaceful resolution of the internal Syrian conflict,” the Belarusian Foreign Ministry was fast in its response. Belarusian top officials repeatedly underlined that the cooperation with Syria is conducted solely in civilian field.