The commander of the Revolutionary Guard of Iran publicly mocked Saudi Arabia’s recent willingness to send ground troops to Syria to help the country fight the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS or ISIL, saying they have "no chance" against guerilla forces, Iran's semiofficial Fars news agency reported Saturday
“They claim they will send troops but I don’t think they will dare do so. They have a classic army and history tells us such armies stand no chance in fighting irregular resistance forces,” Maj. Gen. Ali Jafari said. “This will be like a coup de grace for them. Apparently, they see no other way but this, and if this is the case, then their fate is sealed.”
Saudi Arabia has participated in airstrikes led by a U.S. coalition to battle ISIS in war-torn Syria, and has also given aid and weapons to Syrian rebels. Iran, a rival of Saudi Arabia, has sent forces to help its ally Syrian President Bashar Assad, Reuters reported.
In coordination with Turkey, thousands of ground troops could be deployed, the Guardian reported. One of the first Arab countries to join the anti-ISIS coalition in 2014, Saudi Arabia drew back the number of Syrian airstrikes last March when it led an intervention in Yemen.
"We know that airstrikes cannot be enough and that a ground operation is needed,” Brig. Gen. Ahmed Asseri told Al Jazeera this week. “We need to combine both to achieve better results on the ground."
The U.S. has been more welcoming to Saudi Arabia’s intended ground troop support. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Thursday Saudi Arabia’s involvement would be a positive contribution.
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“The United States has very much indicated our desire to accelerate the campaign to defeat ISIL, [and] we'll do that better, and it'll be easier to sustain the defeat … if other countries that are part of the coalition accelerate their efforts at the same time,” Carter said.