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UAE says ready to send ground troops to Syria

Fighters from "Jaish al Fatah" escort buses and Syrian Arab Red Crescent ambulances evacuating fighters and civilians from two besieged Shi'ite towns in Idlib, and heading towards the Syrian-Turkish border crossing of Bab al-Hawa, to cross to Turkey

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) said on Sunday it was ready to send ground troops to Syria as part of an international coalition to fight against Islamic State.

Asked if the UAE was ready to send troops if need be, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said at a media briefing in the Emirati capital Abu Dhabi: “This has been our position throughout.”

“We have been frustrated at the slow pace …. of confronting Daesh,” he added, referring to Islamic State by its Arabic acronym.

“We are not talking about thousands of troops but we are talking about troops on the ground that will lead the way … that will support … and I think our position remains the same and we will have to see how this progresses,” he said.

Gargash added “U.S. leadership on this” would be a prerequisite for the UAE.

Saudi Arabia said last week it was ready to participate in any ground operations in Syria if the U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq decided to start such operations.

Syria would resist any ground incursion into its territory and send the aggressors home “in coffins”, its foreign minister said on Saturday, in comments clearly aimed at Sunni Arab countries that have said they were ready to join such an operation.



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