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Damascus to fight back Saudi Arabia’s ground operation — Syrian ambassador

February 15, 2016, 21:01 UTC+3

The aim of a possible ground operation in Syria by Ankara and Riyadh is to save Islamic State, Syrian Ambassador to Russia Riyad Haddad says

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Syrian Ambassador to Russia Riyad Haddad

Syrian Ambassador to Russia Riyad Haddad

© Valery Sharifulin/TASS

MOSCOW, February 15. /TASS/. Damascus and its allies will fight back in case of Saudi Arabia’s ground operation, Syrian Ambassador to Russia Riyad Haddad said in an interview with the Rossiya-24 television channel on Monday.

"First, Saudi Arabia is taking no effort to do away with the Islamic State [a terrorist group outlawed in Russia - TASS] and terrorism. Second, Saudi Arabia is mired in Yemen, it cannot withdraw from there and one can see no end to it," he said. "Why should they come to Syria? We will resolutely fight back, along with our allies."

"I have no idea of what the Saudis are going to do, no idea of their scenario," he noted. "But I am optimistic about Syria’s future. They will achieve nothing, our army will repel them."

Earlier, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said his country was ready to deploy its special task force in Syria in case the international coalition took a decision to launch a ground operation in that country.

Operation planned by Ankara, Riyadh in Syria seeks to save IS

In Riyad Haddad's words, the aim of a possible ground operation in Syria by Ankara and Riyadh is to save Islamic State.

"Turkey is daily letting hundreds of gunmen across the border, Saudi Arabia speaks of a need to change power in Syria peacefully or militarily," he said. "They say they will enter Syria to make a strike on Islamic State (a terrorist organization outlawed in Russia), but indeed they want to interfere in Syria to save Islamic State," the ambassador said.

The ambassador said that despite international efforts to deescalate the conflict in Syria, the lack of real political will was preventing the settlement.

"Efforts are really being made. However, no real intentions are seen to do away with what is going on in Syria," Riyad Haddad said.

Damascus hopes for the resumption of intra-Syrian talks on February 25 and is ready to implement the decisions of the UN Security Council, Syrian Ambassador to Russia went on to say.

"I hope that the talks will continue, we have assumed certain obligations and are ready to implement the UN Security Council decisions," Haddad said. "We want to preserve united Syria, there is opposition of Syrian people - they are against outer intervention."

"But there is opposition backed by Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, implementing their political will without having their own one," the ambassador said.

The Syrian opposition, in his words, does not want a political settlement that would be in in common interests. "The opposition delegations, as a matter of fact, are not following the decision adopted earlier in Vienna and other conferences," he said.

Syrian ambassador says Kurds are part of Syrian people

According to Syrian Ambassador to Russia Riyad Haddad, Kurds are a part of the Syrian people.

"The Kurds are a major element of the Syrian Arab people," he said. "They are part of our nation who live on our territory and have their rights and liabilities. Our Kurdish brothers live side by side with us, they serve in the army and fight against terrorists. We draw no ethnic division lines."

"The Syrian people is made up of many ethnic groups and that’s why we yield to no calls aimed at breaking our people and the country apart," the Syrian diplomat stressed.

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