Iran-backed Militia Warns Against Sending Arab Forces to Syria, Iraq

Aid trucks and ambulances entered Syria from Turkey on Sunday to deliver food and supplies to tens of thousands of people fleeing an escalating government assault on Aleppo. A Shiite militia on Sunday warned against sending a Sunni coalition force to fight Daesh in Syria or Iraq. REUTERS/Osman Orsal

BAGHDAD, Feb 8 – One of Iraq’s most powerful Iranian-backed Shiite militias on Sunday warned that Arab forces sent to Syria or Iraq would “open the gates of hell”, in comments clearly aimed at Sunni Arab countries that have said they might join such an operation.

“The Arab kingdoms tried Daesh mercenaries to implement their malicious plans in Iraq and Syria, and they failed,” a statement from Kataib Hezbollah said.

It called on “the sons of Saud and those rulers who stand behind them not to take a risk and to learn (their) lesson,” referring to the Saudi ruling family.

Kataib Hezbollah, whose leader Abu Mahdi Al Mohandes heads the Baghdad-sanctioned coalition of mainly Shiite militias battling the ultra-hardline Sunni Muslim militants of Daesh alongside Iraq’s regular forces, has sent fighters to Syria to support President Bashar Al Assad’s troops in that country’s five-year-old civil war.

The United Arab Emirates said on Sunday it was ready to supply ground troops to help support and train an international military coalition against Daesh in Syria provided such efforts were led by the United States.

Saudi Arabia, one of several Sunni Gulf Arab states, including the UAE, who are opposed to Daesh, said last week it was ready to participate in any ground operations in Syria if the U.S.-led coalition fighting Daesh militants decided to start such operations.

Syria’s foreign minister warned on Saturday that Damascus would resist any ground incursion into its territory and send the aggressors home in coffins.

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