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Syria regime warns against any foreign ground ‘aggression’


Bashar al-Assad

Bashar al-Assad

Syria’s government warned Saturday that its forces would resist any foreign ground intervention after reports that Saudi Arabia and Turkey, which both support rebel forces, could send in troops.

“Any ground intervention on Syrian territory without government authorisation would amount to an aggression that must be resisted,” Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said at a news conference in Damascus.

“Let no one think they can attack Syria or violate its sovereignty because I assure you any aggressor will return to their country in a wooden coffin, whether they be Saudis or Turks,” he warned.

Riyadh on Thursday left open the possibility of deploying soldiers, offering to “contribute positively” if the US-led coalition against the Islamic State jihadist group decided on ground action.

And Russia, which along with Saudi Arabia’s regional rival Iran is a major ally of Assad, has accused Turkey of “preparations for an armed invasion” of Syria, a claim which Ankara has dismissed.

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