Syria’s Foreign Minister has warned that any ground operation in Syria, carried out without consent from Damascus, would be viewed as an act of aggression.
During a press conference in Damascus, Walid Muallem said: “Any ground intervention on Syrian territory without government authorization would amount to aggression that must be resisted“
The senior Syrian official added that potential aggressors would return to their countries dead: “Let no one think they can attack Syria or violate its sovereignty because I assure you any aggressor will return to their country in a wooden coffin“
Earlier this week Russia’s Defense Ministry spokesman said that Turkey was making “preparations for an armed invasion” of Syria.
He told journalists: “We have good reasons to believe that Turkey is actively preparing for a military invasion of a sovereign state – the Syrian Arab Republic…”
Saudi Arabia has also expressed their readiness to deploy ground troops to Syria if the US-led coalition decided such an operation was necessary.
RT reports: Bahrain’s ambassador to the UK, Sheikh Fawaz bin Mohammed al-Khalifa, said his country is ready to provide its troops to act “in concert with the Saudis,” adding the United Arab Emirates was also interested in the Syrian ground operation.
When asked about the Saudi initiative, US State Department spokesman John Kirby stressed the coalition is generally supportive of having partners who contribute more in the fight against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).
The US-led coalition has been carrying out airstrikes against IS in Iraq and Syria since mid-2014.
Over the course of the operation, US President Barack Obama has repeatedly stated there will be no American boots on the ground in Syria. Russia’s Foreign Ministry treated reports of a planned Saudi ground operation in Syria with irony.
“I’m afraid to ask, have they already defeated everybody in Yemen?” Maria Zakharova, the ministry’s spokesman, wondered.
According to Press TV The Syrian foreign minister also blamed the Saudi-backed opposition delegation for the suspension of international talks aimed at finding a political solution to the ongoing conflict in Syria.
A fresh round of UN-brokered peace talks between Syrian warring sides suspended in the Swiss city of Geneva on Wednesday. The Geneva negotiations were halted after the so-called High Negotiations Committee (HNC), a Saudi-backed anti-Damascus opposition group, failed to show up.
Muallem added that the opposition delegation decided to walk away from the negotiations after victories made by the Syrian army, saying that Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey have been trying to undermine UN efforts to hold a dialog between the government and the opposition.
He said Damascus is ready to negotiate with the opposition without any preconditions.
“Everyone should realize, on top of all [the UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan] de Mistura, that Syria is going for a Syrian-Syrian dialog without any preconditions and will not comply with any precondition set by any party whatsoever,” he said.