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Syrian minister warns foreign ground troops 'will go home in wooden coffins'

Saudi Arabia's offer of boots on the ground in Syria was not received warmly by the country's foreign minister

Harriet Sinclair
Saturday 06 February 2016 18:17 GMT
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Saudi Arabia has volunteered ground troops to fight Isis in Syria
Saudi Arabia has volunteered ground troops to fight Isis in Syria (AP)

Syria’s foreign minister has warned that any ground troops from Saudi Arabia or other countries that enter his country without permission will "return home in wooden coffins".

Walid al-Moallem’s statement came following comments from Saudi Arabian military spokesman Brigardier General Ahmed Asiri, who said earlier in the week that the Kingdom would be willing to send ground troops to Syria as part of a US-led offensive against Isis, AP reported.

Saudi Arabia has been involved in air strikes against insurgents in Syria for the past six month but, following its experience sending ground troops into Yemen, now seems ready to see boots on the ground in Syria.

There was no commitment made in terms of the number of soldiers Saudi Arabia could potentially commit to a ground assault in Syria, but Al Jazeera reported that the offer would be discussed during a Brussels meeting next week of countries involved in fighting Isis.

However, Al-Moallem made his feelings about any potential ground troops perfectly clear, stating that any attacks carried out without the consent of the Syrian government would be considered an act of aggression.

More than 250,000 people have been killed in Syria’s five-year war, with recent Russian airstrikes reported to have killed at least 150 civilians, with many people still attempting to flee the country and an estimated 70,000 refugees set to reach the country’s border with Turkey by 7 February.

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