Turkey has no plans to invade Syria, a source in the Prime Minister’s office said on Thursday. The official also slammed Russia’s claim that Ankara was planning to invade northern Syria. According to the source, the claim is an attempt to hide Moscow’s crimes in Syria.
“Simply they are diverting attention from their attacks on civilians as a country already invading Syria,” the source told CNN. “Turkey has all the rights to take any measures to protect its own security.”
Russia’s Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov earlier alleged that there were “signs of hidden preparation” by Turkish forces in the Syrian territory. According to Russia, the heightened activity by Turkish forces near the border hints a possible invasion.
The US State Department spokesman John Kirby was asked about Russia’s claim. He said Turkey was “an important partner” for the United States in its battle against the Islamic State militants in Syria. However, it is not possible for him to speak randomly on Turkey’s activities near Syrian border, he said.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has said it is ready to send ground troop to Syria. Brigadier General Ahmed Asseri said the kingdom would send ground troops to the war-torn country if the US-led coalition asked for it.
“The kingdom is ready to participate in any ground operations that the coalition (against Islamic State) may agree to carry out in Syria,” he told Al Arabiya News Channel. “If there was a consensus from the leadership of the coalition, the kingdom is willing to participate in these efforts because we believe that aerial operations are not the ideal solution and there must be a twin mix of aerial and ground operations.”
Kirby said it would not be possible to comment on the proposal from Saudi Arabia before reviewing it. However, the coalition is usually quite supportive while welcoming new partners in the battle against terrorism.