Syria Won’t Allow Foreign Ground Troops to Fight ISIS

Syria will not allow foreign ground troops on its territory to fight the Islamic State (ISIS) group, Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem said on Monday.

Speaking at a news conference in Damascus, Muallem also said Jordan had not responded to a Syrian request to coordinate efforts against ISIS after the group killed a captured Jordanian pilot.

"So far, there is no coordination between Syria and Jordan in the fight against terrorism," Muallem said at the joint news conference with Belarus Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei, according to the AFP news agency.

"As for press reports about ground troops entering Syria, we say clearly that… we will not permit anyone to violate our national sovereignty by intervening to fight ISIS," he added.

"The Syrian Arab army is honorably undertaking this task."

Damascus regularly accuses Jordan of supporting "terrorism" in Syria because of its backing for the uprising against President Bashar Al-Assad.

Last week, it called on Amman to cooperate in its efforts against "terrorism" in the wake of a video showing the murder of a Jordanian pilot captured by ISIS in Syria.

Jordan is a member of the coalition, led by the United States, which is carrying out air strikes against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, and its pilot Maaz al-Kassasbeh was captured in December when his plane went down over Syria.

Jordan has vowed an "earth-shattering" response after the Sunni extremists captured al-Kassasbeh, burned him alive and released a gruesome video of the execution.

Muallem’s comments also addressed the Syrian civil war, which has killed more than 210,000 people since it began in March 2011. Around the half the population has been displaced.

The war has created massive humanitarian needs, but Muallem criticized the international community, saying it was failing to do its part.

"International organizations claim a lack of resources because of donor reluctance to increase their donations," he said, according to AFP.

"The Syrian government contributes more than 70 percent of the aid" in the country, he said, accusing countries backing the opposition of spending money on weapons rather than aid.

A senior UN official recently said that the world body’s relief efforts in Syria are struggling to reach 40 percent of civilians in need and face a major funding shortfall.

Assistant Secretary-General for aid Kang Kyung-wha told the Security Council that UN agencies were unable in December to deliver food to the Raqa and Deir Ezzor areas controlled by ISIS and to towns besieged by Syrian government troops and opposition forces.

The UN warned last year that Syrians could soon overtake Afghans as the world's biggest refugee population.

The number of Afghan refugees was 2.6 million at the end of 2012, but as of February 2014, there were nearly 2.5 million registered as refugees, about one-half of them children.

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/191144

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