26/02/2016 - 1:19 am | Hits: 360

SAUDI Arabia appears to be preparing for a massive ground invasion of Syria, with possibly the support of the airforce of NATO member Turkey putting Syrian President Assad on the defensive, warning both countries not to enter Syrian territory.

In recent days a number of key military initiatives have taken place both in Saudi Arabia and in Turkey which correspond with recent threats made by both countries to reverse the tide of the Syrian war, following a number of key battles won by Russian and Assad regime forces.

A contingent group of supporting countries have sent soldiers to Saudi Arabia, while both air forces of the Arab kingdom and those of Turkey have engaged in a number of manoeuvres in the air, taking off and landing at an air base in the south of the Turkey close to the Syrian border.

In recent weeks a number of tough statements have been made by Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister alluding to a ground attack.

Similar war cries have come from Turkey’s President as both countries have a lot to both gain in ousting Syria’s President Assad who in recent weeks has teased them with press statements about his longevity in the country since the war tipped in his favour with Russia helping his own regime army.


Over the weekend though, his reaction to the build up reached fever pitch. Assad warned on Saturday that that the Syrian regime will deal with [Turkish and Saudi soldiers] like "terrorists," a term he uses to refer to insurgents fighting against him.

Speaking to a Spanish newspaper in an interview, Assad spoke about the possibility of both Turkey and Saudi Arabia sending ground troops into Syria: "We're going to deal with them like we deal with the terrorists. 

We're going to defend our country. This is aggression."

Yet events are changing on the ground fast. Just today news reports also indicated that a batch of anti-aircraft rockets – US made ‘SAMS’ – were delivered to opposition groups fighting Assad and Russian forces inside Syria.

Saudi Arabia started large-scale military exercises close to the Iraqi border. The military training known under name of "Northern Thunder" is expected to go on all this week and involves more than 2,500 warplanes, 20,000 tanks and 450 helicopters. 

According to reports, Riyadh has billed the manoeuvre as "the largest and most important" drill ever staged in the region with allies of Saudi Arabia providing their own soldiers, from neighbouring Arab countries but also countries such as Pakistan, Chad and Sudan which make up the 350,000 ground force.

President PutinEPA

The US and Russia have just agreed to a ceasefire in Syria

We're going to deal with them like we deal with the terrorists. We're going to defend our country

President Assad

The exercises would involve ground, naval and air forces personnel.

Termed "The Northern Thunder", the drill will continue for another week. 

The aim of the exercise is to send the message that Saudi Arabia and its allies "stand united in confronting all challenges and preserving peace and stability in the region".

Neither the US nor any Western nation is part of the event but recent press reports have hinted that Riyadh is hoping that the US will send their own troops – at least special forces - to join it.

Conflict in Syria

Mon, February 15, 2016

As world powers agree on a ceasefire in Syria we take a look at how the people there are coping with life after air strikes in the war against Daesh militants.

A picture shows the rubble of a hospital
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rubble of a hospital supported by Doctors Without Borders which was hit by Russian airstrikes

  • A picture shows the rubble of a hospital
  • People stand around the rubble of a hosp
  • The destroyed Syrian town of Kobane
  • Russian airstrikes targeted residential areas in Aleppo
  • Russian airstrikes targeted residential areas in Aleppo
  • Russian airstrikes targeted residential areas in Aleppo
  • A young boy receives medical treatment in Douma hospital
  • Russian airstrikes hit residential areas in Aleppo
  • Russian airstrikes hit residential areas in Aleppo
  • An injured Syrian man is carried on a stretcher
  • A Syrian photographer carries an injured girl
  • An injured Syrian man
  • Syrian people are seen among the wreckage
  • Buildings left wrecked
  • The neighbourhood of Aleppo in Syria
  • Planes believed to belong to the Russian Army carry out airstrikes
  • A cloud of smoke rises from the Douma district of Damascus
  • Russian airstrikes in Damascus
  • A man wounded baby hospital airstrikes in Syria
  • Hospitals are over run after airstrikes in Syria
  • Men wait for treatment in hospital after airstrikes
  • Wounded men lay floor hospitals Damascus airstrike
  • At least 31 civilians were killed in airstrikes in Douma on the 13th December.
  • A young Syrian girl gets treated in hospital in Douma
  • Surgeons operate on girl, aged 10 after airstrikes near her school
  • Assad regime airstrikes
  • Syrian oppositions launch rocket attack after airstrikes
  • Douma Revolution Facebook page
  • wounded bloody man to saftey in Douma
  • Dust covers the wreckage left behind after planes believed to be from the Russian army carry out airstrikes in Damascus
  • walk through the rubble devastation in Damascus
  • Airstrikes in Eastern Ghouta
  • A man carries a baby in a blanket following airstrikes
  • Searching the rubble for survivors
  • Black smoke airstrikes in Eastern Ghouta
  • airstrikes Eastern Ghouta
  • Syrians extinguish airstrikes in Damascus

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