Following Russia’s unwelcomed intervention in Syria, Qatar hinted that it could intervene in the war-torn country, probably in support of the rebels opposed to Assad’s regime, although it said it is rather for a political solution to Syria’s civil war.
Qatar’s foreign minister Khalid al-Attiyah told CNN that a Qatari military operation in Syria is still a possibility but said his country still prefers direct dialogue.
His comments irked Syria which immediately warned that “direct aggression” will lead to “very harsh” responses.
Qatar is one of the Gulf States that have been a strong supporter of the rebel groups fighting against the Assad regime since the beginning of the war, providing them with financial, material and political support. The rebels have been on their back heels for the past weeks due to Russia’s airstrikes.
When asked if Qatar sides with Saudi Arabia which does not discard a military operation in Syria, Minister al-Attiyah said Doha will do “anything that protects the Syrian people and Syria from partition” before adding “we will not spare any effort to carry it out with our Saudi and Turkish brothers, no matter what this is,” reported Qatar’s state news agency QNA.
He further explained that “if a military intervention will protect the Syrian people from the brutality of the regime, we will do it” since “we do not fear any confrontation.” But, he said, “we call for dialogue from a position of strength because we believe in peace and the shortest path to peace is through direct dialogue.”
Syrian foreign minister Faisal Mekdad warned, in a statement to Lebanon-based al-Mayadeen television, that if Qatar goes ahead with its military “threat”, “our response will be very harsh” because “we will consider this (military intervention) a direct aggression.”
Russia has stated that a military intervention is not a solution to the Syrian war and that overcoming the extremist and terrorist groups can be done by supporting the legitimate Syrian government led by President Assad.
The Syrian President made a surprise visit to Moscow on Tuesday, angering all countries that call for his removal from power, including Gulf States, the U.S. and Turkey.
President Putin held phone talks with Saudi King Salmane and with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the morrow of the visit to inform them about the outcome of his talks with the Syrian President, the kremlin said on Wednesday.
Moscow also announced on Wednesday that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will meet on Friday in Vienna to discuss the Syrian conflict together with their counterparts from Turkey and Saudi Arabia.