Russian military vehicles are seen in eastern Ghouta near Douma, in Damascus, Syria April 23, 2018. REUTERS/Ali Hashisho
CAIRO – 4 May 2018: Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry disclosed that sending Arab troops to Syria is a possible option currently on the table, according to state-run newspaper Al-Ahram on Friday.
“This option is being discussed by world leaders. It’s not only media talk,” Shoukry noted. “Replacing the existing troops with Arabs may contribute to bringing stability to Syria and help solve its ongoing crisis.”
Shoukry’s statements came at a ceremony organized Wednesday by Al-Ahram's Al-Siyassa Al-Dawliya magazine celebrating the issuance of a special edition on Egypt’s Security Council membership.
The Security Council has five permanent members: China, France, the United States, Britain and Russia, and 10 non-permanent members elected for two-year terms by the UN General Assembly.
For its part, Egypt’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid stressed in a statement on Friday that Shoukry's remarks on Arab troops were general and "did not relate with the possibility of sending Egyptian troops to Syria."
“The U.S.’s proposal to send Arab troops to Syria does not include Egyptian troops’ participation,” Abu Zeid said.
He manifested that the Egyptian rules which regulate sending troops abroad are committed only to constitutional and known mechanisms such as the UN Peacekeeping special missions.
Earlier in April, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said his country, as a part of the U.S.-led coalition, may send troops to Syria.
In a news conference in Riyadh with U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Jubeir noted that Riyadh had previously proposed this idea to former U.S. President Barack Obama.
As the U.S.-led coalition has been carrying out air strikes in Syria against ISIS since mid-2014, Riyadh expressed its readiness to send ground troops to Syria if necessary many times.
In February 2016, Brigadier General Ahmed Asseri, an adviser to the Saudi defense minister, told al-Arabiya TV that his country “is ready to participate in any ground operations that the anti-ISIS coalition may agree to carry out in Syria.”
In September 2014, the anti-ISIS coalition led by the U.S. started conducting airstrikes inside Syria. However, observers said the attacks did little damage to the terrorists; rather, they targeted the country’s infrastructure, according to media reports in 2014.
In September, 2015, Russia launched its own air offensive against ISIS terrorists. The Russian intervention was welcomed by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as Moscow has been a powerful ally to the Iran-backed regime.