Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev raised the specter of endless conflict or a world war if major powers failed to negotiate an end to the fighting in Syria and warned against any ground operations by US and Arab forces.
Medvedev, speaking to Germany’s Handelsblatt newspaper on the eve of talks between major powers on Syria in Munich, said the United States and Russia must exert pressure on all sides in the conflict to secure a ceasefire, Reuters reported.
Asked about Saudi Arabia’s offer last week to supply ground troops if a US-led operation were mounted against Islamic State, he said: “This is bad, as a ground offensive usually turns the war into a permanent one. Just look at what happened in Afghanistan and many other countries.
“The Americans and our Arab partners must think well: do they want a permanent war?”
It would be impossible to win such a war quickly, he said according to a German translation of his words, “especially in the Arab world, where everybody is fighting against everybody”.
“All sides must be compelled to sit at the negotiating table instead of unleashing a new world war,” Medvedev said.
Russia is carrying out bombing sorties around the key city of Aleppo, in support of advances by troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad. US and other western air forces are also involved in air strikes in northern Syria.
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