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Iran Press TV

Saudi, Turkey boots in Syria may trigger regional war: Ex-soviet states

Iran Press TV

Tue Feb 16, 2016 3:52PM

A security alliance of post-soviet states says plans by Turkey and Saudi Arabia to deploy ground troops into Syria could escalate tensions in the conflict-ridden Arab country and result in direct military clashes between countries in the Middle East.

Nikolay Bordyuzha, the secretary general of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), made the warning in a statement released on Tuesday.

'Mass shelling of the Syrian territory by Turkey, Ankara's and Riyadh's plans to start ground operations in Syria may upgrade the Syrian crisis to a new, dangerous level – a direct military confrontation between countries in the region,' Bordyuzha stated.

Turkey and Saudi Arabia say they are waiting for a US nod after announcing their bid for ground operations inside Syria.

Although swiftly welcomed by the United States, the initiative attracted heavy criticism from Damascus, with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem saying "coffins" await any aggressor to the country "whether they be Saudis or Turks."

Turkey's military has been shelling Kurdish positions in northern Syria since February 13. Turkey's strikes came after the Kurdish fighters, backed by Russian airstrikes, drove foreign-backed militants from areas near the Turkish border.

Elsewhere in his comments, Bordyuzha said Saudi and Turkish boots on the ground in Syria would threaten the CSTO member states.

'Further instigation of hotbed of war in Syria's territory in direct proximity from the zone of the CSTO's responsibility is a threat to security of the organization's member states,' he said.

The CSTO is a regional security group comprising six post-Soviet Union countries of Russia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Tajikistan.

Tensions in the Middle East have heightened in the past months after regional powers sided with warring sides to the conflict in Syria.

The foreign-sponsored conflict in Syria, which flared in March 2011, has claimed the lives of some 470,000 people and left 1.9 million injured, according to the Syrian Center for Policy Research.

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