The Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs, Adel al-Jubeir, warned Russian President Vladimir Putin that Moscow’s support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would have serious consequences, as reported by Deutsche Welle. “We informed the Russians that by taking the side of the Syrian President and Iraq, they will become participants of religious war. It is very, very dangerous,” the Head of the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated in an interview with a correspondant from Süddeutsche Zeitung.
According al-Jubeir, 20 million Sunni Muslims live in Russia, and the Kremlin’s policies are creating the impression that Russian forces fight against Sunnis on the side of Shiites. He also noted that Russia has been carrying out airstrikes against moderate Syrian opposition groups for several months, but not the positions of the so-called Islamic State and al-Nusra Front.
The Saudi Minister expressed doubt that Russian airstrikes and the offensive of the Syrian Army in Aleppo will be enough to help the Syrian President stay in power.
“Bashar al-Assad’s own troops were unable to save him, that is why he called on Iran to help him. When Iran was unable to save him, he called on Hezbollah. When the movement Hezbollah as well as Iran were unable to save him, al-Assad brought Shiite militias from Iraq and Pakistan to his country. They were also unable to help him. Now, he called on the Russians but they will not help him,” al-Jubeir summarized.
He noted that Bashar al-Assad has to resign in order to achieve peace in Syria. Al-Jubeir stated that “a President who killed 300,000 people, deprived 12 million of people of homes, and destroyed the country has no future in Syria.”
The government of Saudi Arabia recently announced that it is prepared to send ground troops to fight against militants of the so-called Islamic State in Syria.