Sunday, February 14, 2016

Iran Warns Against Saudi Intervention in Syria: General
Sunday 14 Feb 2016

A senior Iranian commander warned Saudi Arabia on Sunday against sending troops to Syria after the gulf kingdom deployed combat aircraft to Turkey, Iran's state media reported.

"We definitely won't let the situation in Syria to go forward the way rebel countries want... We will take necessary actions in due time," deputy chief of staff Brigadier General Masoud Jazayeri told Iran's Arabic-language Al-Aalam television.

Jazayeri was responding to a question on whether Iran planned to send more military advisors to Syria were Saudi troops to be deployed there, risking a direct confrontation between regional rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Riyadh said on Saturday it had deployed warplanes to Turkey's Incirlik airbase in order to "intensify" its operations against the Islamic State group in Syria.

Turkey hit Kurdish and Syrian regime positions in northern Syria, further complicating efforts to end the war, which has killed more than 260,000 people since it began in 2011.

Iran, Syria's regional ally, supports President Bashar al-Assad by sending "military advisers" and volunteers to fight alongside the Syrian army.

"The terrorists fighting in Syria today are forces of Saudi Arabia or the Americans or even reactionary forces in the region," Jazayeri said.

From "what country, except Turkey, do the terrorists commute to Syria? Which countries, if not the reactionary Arab countries, support them?" he asked.

"Today, with the victories of the Syrian army and the popular forces, they want to send troops to Syria, but it is a bluff and a psychological war," Jazayeri added.

"Saudi Arabia has used everything at its disposal in the Syrian front and so far they have failed not only in Syria but also in Yemen."

A Saudi-led coalition has been bombing Iran-backed rebels in Yemen since March, further straining ties between Riyadh and Tehran.

Saudi troop deployment in Syria up to US-led coalition

Sunday 14 Feb 2016

Saudi Arabia said on Sunday that any move to deploy Saudi special forces into Syria will depend on a decision by the U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State.

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on Friday he expected both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to send special operations forces to Syria to help local opposition fighters in their drive to retake the city of Raqqa, Islamic State's de facto capital in Syria.

Saudi Arabia on Saturday confirmed it had sent aircraft to NATO-member Turkey's Incirlik air base for the fight against Islamic State militants."The Kingdom's readiness to provide special forces to any ground operations in Syria is linked to a decision to have a ground component to this coalition against Daesh (Islamic State) in Syria - this U.S.-led coalition - so the timing is not up to us," Jubeir told a news conference with his Swiss counterpart in Riyadh."With regards to timing of the mission or size of troops, this has yet to be worked out," he added.

Major powers agreed in Munich on Friday to a pause in combat in Syria, but Russia pressed on with bombing in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, its ally. Assad has promised to fight until he regains full control of the country.

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending U.S. ground troops to Syria. But Turkey said that both Ankara and Riyadh would support a coalition ground operation.

Separately, Jubeir said Switzerland would handle Saudi Arabia's consular affairs in Iran and would facilitate Iranian pilgrims coming to the kingdom, following Riyadh's decision to cut relations with Tehran.

Relations worsened between the regional arch-rivals over Saudi Arabia's Jan. 2 execution of a prominent Saudi Shi'ite cleric. That led Iranian protesters to storm Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran, after which Riyadh severed relations.

"Switzerland offered to ... handle the (consular) interests of Saudi Arabia in Iran, and we in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia appreciated that and accepted," Jubeir said.

But he said there was no need for mediation in Saudi Arabia's rift with Iran, citing what he described as Iran's long pattern of interference in regional conflicts.

The Islamic Republic said last week that Tehran and Riyadh must overcome their strained relations and work for stability in Syria and the middle East.

No comments: