Damascus: Ground Operation in Syria Without State Approval ‘Aggression’
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said Saturday that any ground operation in Syria without Damascus’ approval is an “act of aggression.”
Later, Bahraini ambassador to Britain Sheikh Fawaz bin Mohammed al-Khalifa said in a statement that the kingdom would commit troops to operate “in concert with Saudis.” He added that the United Arab Emirates, a member of the Saudi-dominated Gulf Cooperation Council, was also ready to commit troops.
A top Iranian military commander says a “definite” defeat awaits Saudi Arabia if it sends troops to Syria.
“Sending troops by Saudi Arabia means a coup de grace for its regime which, of course, is not bad,” chief commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Major General Mohammad Ali Ja’afari said on Saturday.
In a surprise statement broadcast on the Saudi-owned Al Arabiya news network on Thursday, a spokesman for the Saudi defense ministry suggested that the kingdom could send troops to Syria.
Gen. Ja’afari dismissed it as a “bluff,” saying he didn’t think the Saudis “would dare to do that because their army is a classical army and history has shown they are incapable of confronting Islam’s fighters.”
“Such an action will amount to a coup de grace for them which, of course, they apparently see no other choice to avoid but their defeat is definite,” he told reporters in Tehran.
“They are bluffing. But if that happens, we think it’s not bad from our point of view,” Ja’afari added.
The commander said the decision has been prompted by “extensive and repeated defeats of those fighting against the resistance front which has disrupted all their calculations.”
“They thought they could make a score in Syria through supporting and funding (militants) but recent victories of the resistance front disrupted all their plans,” Ja’afari added.
The IRGC chief described recent military achievements in the Syrian province of Aleppo as “big” which had also made Israel “worried.”
“One of the results of these victories was that Turkey and Saudi Arabia abandoned peace negotiations and claimed sending troops to Syria.”
Secretary of Iran’s Expediency Council Mohsen Rezaei warned any Saudi ground troops in Syria would set the entire Middle East, including the kingdom itself, on fire.
“If the Saudi government, which has a habit of taking insane actions, makes such a move, the whole region, including Saudi Arabia, will burn in fire. However, Iran would be far off from it,” he wrote on his Instagram page on Saturday.
“After Daesh and al-Nusra Front suffered defeat in Iraq’s Ramadi and Syria’s Aleppo in particular, Saudi Arabia and the United States decided to deploy Saudi soldiers to Syria to save the remaining Takfiris and clash with the Syrian army,” Rezaei stated.
Rezaei said such a deployment would set the stage for a confrontation between Russia and Syria on one side, and Saudi Arabia and Turkey on the other, a situation which could also drag the US into the conflict and trigger an all-out regional war.
On Friday, Pavel Krasheninnikov, the head of the Russian State Duma committee, warned Riyadh that any military ground operation in Syria without the Damascus government’s consent would amount to a declaration of war.
Saudi Arabia is a member of the so-called US-led coalition that has been conducting air raids against what are claimed to be the Daesh terrorists inside Syria since September 2014.
Riyadh, Washington and their allies are staunchly opposed to the Syrian government, providing Takfiri militants with arms and funds to topple President Bashar al-Assad.