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Popular forces to make Iraq graveyard for Saudis: Official

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)
The spokesman for Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units, Ahmed al-Assadi

The spokesman for Iraq's Popular Mobilization Units has warned Saudi Arabia against any ground aggression into the Arab country.

We will turn Iraq into a "graveyard" for Saudi forces if they dare attack the country, Ahmad al-Assadi said on Saturday.

The warning came after some media reports said that Saudi Arabia and its allies are planning to conduct a joint military maneuver in the kingdom’s north, close to Iraqi border.

Saudi media said earlier this week that some 350,000 forces from the Persian Gulf Arab states and a number of other countries, including Egypt, Sudan and Pakistan, would take part in the Saudi-led military exercise dubbed “North Thunder” in the area of Hafer al-Batin.

Some 2,540 warplanes, 20,000 tanks and 460 helicopters are scheduled to participate in the exercise.

Assadi stressed volunteer forces will confront Saudi Arabia and other countries participating in the military drills should they dare come closer to Iraq’s western borders. 

Media reports claim the maneuver will be the largest throughout the history of the region.

The Saudi maneuver is believed to be preparation for a possible ground incursion into Syria.

Iraqi fighters from the Popular Mobilization Units hold a position on the Tharthar front line on the edge of Anbar Province, 120 kilometers northwest of the capital, Baghdad, on June 1, 2015. © AFP

Apart from the Saudi regime, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain have expressed willingness to send troops to Syria to join the US-led campaign allegedly fighting Daesh Takfiri group.

Damascus has issued warnings against any such move with Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem saying 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.”

On February 10, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi also warned against the deployment of ground troops to Syria, describing the envisioned move as a “dangerous escalation.”

Riyadh has been among the staunch supporters of the Takfiri militants operating to overthrow the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad since early 2011.

The Syrian troops, backed by Russian air raids, have been making gains against foreign-backed militants.

On Friday, the Syrian president said the government forces will retake the whole country from terrorists.

Assad warned that the involvement of regional countries in the conflict meant that the process to liberate Syria would take a long time.

He said it would be possible to end the war “in less than a year” if militant supply routes from neighboring countries were cut.

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