Russia's PM Warns Against Foreign Boots on the Ground in Syria

Meanwhile, U.S. defense secretary says he expects Saudi Arabia and UAE to provide forces to help Syrian opposition fighters against ISIS.

Smoke rising in the distance, in the aftermath of a Russian airstrike that targeted Islamic State-controlled areas in Raqqa, Syria, December 6. 2015.
AP

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has warned other nations against committing their troops to a ground action in Syria, saying it would only exacerbate the conflict.

Medvedev, speaking in an interview with the German newspaper Handelsblatt, the text of which was released by his office Friday, said "a ground operation draws everyone taking part in it into a war."

Commenting on a Saudi proposal to send troops to Syria and the possibility of U.S. involvement in ground action, Medvedev said there wouldn't be a quick victory, rather a "permanent war." He reaffirmed that Russia, which has conducted air campaign in Syria since September 30, has no intention to engage in ground action.

Medvedev said the conflict must be resolved through talks, not by opening another front in the war.

Meanwhile, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on Friday he expected Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to provide special operations forces to help Syrian opposition fighters battling Islamic State, including to retake the city of Raqqa.

"We're going to try to give opportunities and power to... particularly Sunni Arabs in Syria who want to re-seize their territory back from ISIL, especially Raqqa," Carter said after defense talks in Brussels.

Carter, who met with officials from UAE on Friday, said it had also promised to resume participating in the U.S.-led air campaign against Islamic State. He received a similar assurance from Saudi Arabia on Thursday.