Syria warns Jordan of interference in war against IS

Syria warns Jordan of interference in war against IS
Regime says it will not allow violations of sovereignty, as it attacks rebels in Damascus and while Jordan vows more revenge on IS over murder of Moaz al-Kassasbeh.
3 min read
09 February, 2015
More than 100,000 civilians have died in the war, the SOHR says [AFP]

Syria has given warning to Jordan not to send troops into its territory, saying it is "valiantly" fighting the Islamic State group and does not need foreign interference.

Walid al-Muallem, the Syrian foreign minister, said on Monday: "We will not allow anyone to violate our national sovereignty and we do not need any ground troops to fight Daesh," he said, using the Arabic acronym for IS. "The Syrian Arab government is fully capable of fighting Daesh valiantly and we don't need any other troops."

His comments come after Jordan launched more than 50 airstrikes on IS targets on Syrian territory, and said it was preparing more in revenge for the group's murder of its hostage Moaz al-Kassasbeh, a Jordanian pilot. However, it has not said it will send troops into Syria to attack IS.

Meanwhile, Syrian forces killed 15 and injured 70 in air raids on the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Douma, according to the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights activist group.

The attacks are the latest in the regime's assault on Douma and Eastern Ghouta, where 88 people were killed by almost 40 air raids on Thursday after rebels fired around 70 mortar bombs and rockets on Damascus.

The UN special envoy to Syria, Staffan di Mistura, was on Monday due to arrive in Damascus to attempt to secure a ceasefire around the Syrian capital and Aleppo province.

However Rami Abdulrahman, of SOHR, told al-Araby al-Jadeed: "He can visit, but what's he going to do? Nothing."

"The international community must put real pressure on all sides to stop the fighting, or get out and stop supporting them," he said.

Toll of war

Abdulrahman's group this weekend released new figures on the human toll of four years of civil war, with 210,000 people killed - including more than 100,000 civilians including 10,600 children and 7,000 women.

Al-Araby al-Jadeed cannot independently confirm the SOHR's figures.

More than 3.7 million Syrians have fled to neighbouring countries, while 6.5 million have been internally displaced - meaning nearly half of Syria's 23 million people have been forced from their homes since 2011.

Lebanon, which has a population of four million, hosts more than a million registered refugees. Unofficial estimates say there may be 500,000 more who are unregistered.

In January, the country introduced new strict visa entry requirements in order to stem the influx of refugees, with no more refugee entry visas being issued.

Last week the Lebanese army cleared parts of the Syrian-Lebanese border, destroying about 32 informal settlements and leaving approximately 7000 refugees with even less shelter, while nearby, fighting between the regime and rebels around the Syrian town of Zabadani has intensified. 

The UN's commission of inquiry into the Syrian war is to submit its next report on February 18.