Saudi Arabia has offered to send ground troops to the Syrian battlefield to ostensibly fight against Daesh, but Riyadh will in fact assist terrorist groups in the war-torn Arab country, Akil Mahfoud, chief of the foreign relations department at the Syrian Ministry of Higher Education, told RIA Novosti.
The oil kingdom “will provide extensive support to al-Nusra Front, Ahrar ash-Sham and the like under the guise of fighting Daesh,” he said. “Any intervention in Syria will undoubtedly be carried out to change the course of the war in the country. It will hinder the success of the Syrian Arab Army. And those, who will come, will not be against Daesh regardless of what Turkey and Saudi Arabia claim.”
The political scientist maintains that Riyadh has contemplated sending its army to Syria because Damascus-led forces, assisted by Russian warplanes and Hezbollah fighters, have lately been on an offensive, while terrorist groups are losing. The SAA has recently scored major victories in the provinces of Aleppo, Latakia and Daraa.
“Among other things [the Saudis] don’t like that the United States and Russia see eye to eye on several issues. [Riyadh] needs a Turkish or Saudi adventure in Syria to upset the power balance on the battlefield and in politics,” Mahfoud added.
On Thursday, Riyadh announced that it was “ready to participate” in a ground campaign in Syria if the US-led coalition choses to launch it. The Saudis are rumored to be willing to deploy special operations forces. The move will apparently be carried out in coordination with Turkey.
Saudi Arabia and Turkey are part of the US-led anti-Daesh efforts. But Riyadh and Ankara’s commitment to tackling the brutal group has been questioned time and again since both countries have been largely focused on other military campaigns. The Saudis have mounted a military intervention against Yemen, while the Turks have cracked down on the Kurds. Both operations have been condemned as humanitarian disasters.