Syria FM warns against any foreign ‘ground intervention’

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem has warned against any foreign ground intervention in his country after reports emerged that Saudi Arabia and Turkey are considering the dispatch of troops to Syria.

“Any ground intervention on Syrian territory without government authorization would amount to an aggression that must be resisted,” Muallem said at a news conference in the Syrian capital, Damascus, on Saturday.

The senior Syrian official said that potential aggressors would return dead to their countries.

“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, whether they be Saudis or Turks,” he warned.

On Thursday, Igor Konashenkov, Russia’s Defense Ministry spokesman, said Turkey is making “preparations for an armed invasion” of Syria.

Moscow “registers a growing number of signs of hidden preparation of the Turkish Armed Forces for active actions on the territory of Syria,” Konashenkov added.

Ankara has rejected the claim, saying it has no plan “of staging a military campaign or ground incursion in Syria.”

On the same day, Saudi Arabia voiced readiness to participate in any ground operations in Syria if the US-led coalition, which is allegedly targeting terrorists in Syria, decides to start such operations. US State Department spokesman John Kirby also welcomed the Saudi decision.

“I don’t think they will do what they say about using ground forces, but at the same time, when I look at their crazy decisions made not just in Yemen but in other areas nothing can be ruled out,” Muallem said, alluding to the Saudi military campaign against Yemen.

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