The Collective Security Treaty Organization, the Russia-led military bloc, is carrying out a series of exercises around Russia, the Caucasus, and Central Asia. The nature of the exercises have raised speculation that Moscow is angling to get some of its allies to deploy alongside Russian troops for a peacekeeping mission in Syria.
Currently, about 2,500 soldiers from CSTO member countries -- Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan -- are in Armenia's Baghramyan training facility. Before that, they were in Russia, and next will move to Kazakhstan and then Tajikistan.
In the current phase of the exercise, the scenario involves an armed group penetrating the borders of a CSTO member state. But the next phase, in Kazakhstan, the scenario will entail sending a group of CSTO peacekeepers to a non-member country as part of a UN peacekeeping operations. This is the second year that the CSTO has drilled on such a scenario.
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