Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry told reporters on May 4 that replacing the US troops in Syria with Arab troops is a possibility that is being discussed by officials from various countries, according to the Egyptian newspaper al-Ahram. However, Shoukry didn’t name the countries discussing the new plan.
“This proposition is not only being discussed by the media, but also during discussions and deliberations amongst officials of states to look into how these ideas could contribute to stabilizing Syria,” Shoukry told the reporters, according to Reuters.
Few hours after Shoukry’s remarks, Ahmed Abu Zeid spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Egypt denied in an official statement that Egypt is planning to send troops to Syria and said that Shoukry was talking about the situation in general.
“The Egyptian foreign minister’s statement on the possibility of sending Arab forces to Syria was not about Egypt. Egypt is not sending its troops abroad … The principles that govern sending Egyptian forces outside the country are known to everybody. That won’t happen unless it was in line with constitutional mechanisms, and rules and regulations that have been affirmed more than once, such as cases related to United Nations peacekeeping operations,” Abu Zeid said in the official statement.
Senior US official told the WSJ last month that US President Donald Trump is planning to establish an Arab force that would replace US troops in Syria and to pressure the Iranian forces in the country.
However, many close allies of the US appear to be not excited with Trump’s plan. Qatar’s Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al Thani said on April 26 that deploying Arab troops in Syria would only compacte the situation there.
Now with Egypt also refusing to take part in Trump’s new plan in Syria, local observers doubt that Saudi Arabia or the UAE will accept an idea of sending their troops on the war-torn country.