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Foreign forces' presence in Syria may spark world war: Russia PM

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev ©AP

The Russian prime minister has warned that the involvement of foreign troops in Syria could result in a “new world war" amid plans by Saudi Arabia and its allies to potentially deploy ground troops there. 

Dmitry Medvedev made the remarks in an interview with the German Handelsblatt business daily, due to be published on Friday.

He said all powers must sit at the negotiating table to forge an end to the conflict gripping Syria "instead of unleashing a new world war".

"The Americans and our Arabic partners must think hard about this: do they want a permanent war?" Medvedev asked.

The Russian premier also noted that it would be impossible to win such a war quickly, particularly in the Arab world, “where everybody is fighting against everybody.”

The remarks came days after Saudi Arabia expressed its readiness to deploy special forces to Syria if the US-led coalition allegedly hitting Daesh militants decides to deploy ground troops.

The United States welcomed the initiative, but Syria and Damascus’ allies criticized it.

Bahrain and the UAE also followed in Riyadh's footsteps and hinted their preparedness for similar deployments.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the Russian prime minister stressed that the US and Russia must exert pressure on all sides to the conflict in order to secure a ceasefire in Syria.

Earlier this week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Moscow has proposed to Washington an "absolutely specific scheme" seeking an end to violence in Syria.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also noted that discussions about a possible truce in Syria are still continuing, but in a flimsy manner while there is no consensus on resolving the crisis there.

The foreign-sponsored conflict in Syria, which began in March 2011, has claimed the lives of more than 260,000 people and displaced almost half of the country’s population.

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