Introduction of Saudi and Turkish ground forces in Syria would be a Major escalation ahead of planned cease-fire. (Jpost).
Just one day after American and Russian officials negotiated the temporary cease-fire plan, foreign governments supporting rebel groups increased their shipments of ground-toground missiles to fighters in and around Aleppo, once Syria’s largest city, currently nearly surrounded by Assad government forces.
Any temporary cessation of hostilities or more formal ceasefire will not include Islamic State and the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front.
Saudi Arabia and Turkey confirmed they are preparing to invade Syria on the ground, ostensibly in support of the US-led coalition against Islamic State. And Turkish media stated the military had shelled regime positions in northwestern Syria on Saturday.
The introduction of Saudi and Turkish ground forces in Syria would risk direct confrontation between Turkey and Russia in Syria’s west, between Turkish and Kurdish fighters in its north, and between Saudi and Iranian forces across the nation as Tehran continues its efforts to bolster the Assad regime.
Further complicating Turkey’s direct involvement is the potential for conflict with Syria’s Kurds – American allies in the campaign against Islamic State both in Syria and Iraq. Fighting between Turkish and Kurdish troops may result in Ankara losing some of its own territory, former Turkish foreign minister Yasar Yakıs warned over the weekend.
At a security conference in Munich, where Russian diplomats agreed to the cease-fire in principle, US Secretary of State John Kerry repeated his belief that the Syrian conflict has no military solution.
Assad disagreed, asserting in a rare interview on Friday that he intends to take back all of Syria’s territory.
“The solution will take a long time and will incur a heavy price,” he said, but “this is a goal we are seeking to achieve, without any hesitation.”
Assad also said he was prepared for an invasion of Turkish forces, which he said would be “at odds with logic.”
“I don’t rule that out for a simple reason: [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan is a fanatical person with Muslim Brotherhood inclinations,” Assad told Agence France-Presse. “He is living the Ottoman dream.
“For him, the collapse [during World War I of Turkish power] which took place in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Syria is something personal,” Assad continued. “This threatens his political future, on the one hand, and his fanatical Islamist ambitions, on the other. He believes that he has an Islamist mission in our region. The same applies to Saudi Arabia. The collapse of the terrorists in Syria is a collapse of their policies.” Hmmmm.......The Middle East would be much better off without the Muslim Brotherhood. Read the full story here.
What is the opinion of Syrians on the supposed Saudi invasion of Syria? (English Subtitles) pic.twitter.com/hddCHOtpod— M Green (@MmaGreen) February 13, 2016