A senior official in the United Arab Emirates says the Persian Gulf state is ready to send troops to Syria to join a US-led campaign allegedly fighting Takfiri Daesh group.
Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said at a press conference in Abu Dhabi that "this has been our position throughout" as the UAE has been “frustrated at the slow pace .... of confronting Daesh."
"We are not talking about thousands of troops but we are talking about troops on the ground that will lead the way ... that will support ... and I think our position remains the same and we will have to see how this progresses," he said, noting that the “US leadership” of the campaign is the UAE’s prerequisite.
The announcement came after Saudi Arabia said on February 4 that it was ready to participate in any ground operations in Syria if the US-led coalition decides to start such operations. US State Department spokesman John Kirby welcomed the Saudi decision.
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 without any authorization from the Syrian government or a UN mandate since September 2014. The US-led strikes have, on many occasions, targeted Syria’s infrastructures and left many civilians dead.
Also on February 4, Russia’s Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov 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 February 5, Bahrain’s Ambassador to Britain Sheikh Fawaz bin Mohammed Al Khalifa also said that the kingdom is ready to deploy ground forces to Syria under the Saudi leadership.
He said the Saudi initiative was meant to combat both Daesh and the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Syrian Foreign Ministry Walid al-Muallem has said that any “ground intervention on Syrian territory without government authorization would amount to an aggression that must be resisted.”
He has also warned that potential aggressors would return home in a “wooden coffin.”