01:24 GMT +322 November 2019
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    A picture taken 17 March 2006 shows a general view of the historic Syrian city of Aleppo, 350 kms north of Damascus, with its landmark cytadel in the background.

    Egyptian General: Boots on the Ground in Syria Could Turn Into 'Media Show'

    © AFP 2019 / RAMZI HAUDAR
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    Ground operations have to be carried out according to a detailed plan based on certain rules and procedures in order to be efficient; an ill-conceived military offensive will most likely turn into nothing but a "show for the press," General Zakaria Hussein, the former director of the Egyptian Military Academy, told RIA Novosti.

    The general's remarks came in response to Turkey and Saudi Arabia's stated readiness to take part in a ground operation in Syria, if the US-led coalition decides to launch one. This operation will have to be conducted according to a detailed plan, which should necessarily include the exact number of troops set for deployment and the types of weapons that are slated to be used in the operation, he added.

    President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) and Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud (L)
    © AFP 2019 / TURKISH PRESIDENTIAL PRESS OFFICE/ KAYHAN OZER
    All parties involved will also have to establish a joint command center. Additional complications could arise since "different countries act according to different military doctrines," Hussein noted.

    The general placed particular emphasis on the training prior to launching the campaign. Training "takes time – at least six months. It should involve ground forces, military airpower, probably, even naval forces."

    However, military plans and exercises could prove to be insufficient when the Saudis ultimately decide to send conventional troops or special operations forces to Syria, since the oil kingdom is already leading a prolonged war in Yemen.

    Smoke billows from a site hit by Saudi-led air strikes in Yemen's capital Sanaa January 30, 2016
    © REUTERS / Khaled Abdullah
    Smoke billows from a site hit by Saudi-led air strikes in Yemen's capital Sanaa January 30, 2016

    Ankara and Riyadh's plans have also raised questions as to what objectives they will pursue in Syria.

    Both countries claim that they are driven by a desire to defeat Daesh, but they have long supported terrorist groups trying to oust President Bashar al-Assad and have made every effort to remove him from power. Many experts agree that the Syrian leader will most likely be the main if not the only target of the possible campaign.

    "Given that the Saudis and their allies in the newly formed Islamic Coalition are conducting massive joint operational military exercises – codenamed Northern Thunder – in preparation for very possible military interventions in the near future, it's clear that the Kingdom-led multinational coalition will not stop at [Daesh]," political analyst Nawaf Obaid asserted. "Rather, its ultimate objective in Syria is to take on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the Iran-created Shia militias."

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    Tags:
    ground operation, boots on the ground, ground offensive, Daesh, Bashar al-Assad, Turkey, Syria, Saudi Arabia
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