A Saudi Arabian foreign minister proclaimed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will be forced out of office if peace talks fail.
"I believe Bashar al-Assad is weak and I believe Bashar al-Assad is finished," said Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir. "Bashar al-Assad will leave - have no doubt about it. He will either leave by a political process or he will be removed by force.”
Al-Jubeir proceeded to say Saudi Arabia will continue to encourage his removal by non-violent means.
However, he added, “But if that doesn't work, it will be because of the obstinance of the Syrian regime and that of its allies. And should that prove to be the case, then it becomes clear that there is no option to remove Bashar al-Assad except by force.”
Indeed, the comments come as Bashar al-Assad announced he was determined to regain Syria by force, The Independent reports.
This was said despite peace talks held Feb. 11 and 12 where all world powers promised to temporarily cease hostilities within a week.
Al-Jubeir said Saudi Arabia is already prepared to engage in an on-ground battle. For example, they have already sent troops and fighter jets to a Turkish military base.
"I can tell you that there is some serious discussion going on with regards to looking at a ground component in Syria, because there has to be a possibility of taking and holding ground, that one cannot do from the air,” he said. “We are saying we will participate within the U.S.-led coalition, should this coalition decide to send ground troops into Syria, that we are prepared to send special forces with those troops."
If Saudi Arabia were to deploy troops to Syria, they would also come face-to-face with longtime foe Iran.
"We have always said that we would like to have good relations with Iran," Jubeir said of this, but added, "But neighbors have to live with each other based on the principle of good neighborliness, and the principle of non-interference in the affairs of others."