Presidential and military sources in Egypt denied sending military troops to Syria to fight alongside the Syrian army, affiliated to Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad.
These denials came in response to a report published in Lebanese newspaper As-Safir on Thursday, saying that a military troop including 18 military pilots were sent to Syria. However, the newspaper said it wasn’t confirmed whether they participated in the airstrikes or not.
Qassem Al-Khatib, a member in the National Coalition of the Syrian Opposition, told Daily News Egypt that Egypt had not sent any military troops to Syria, adding that President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi had said during an interview that Egypt supports the will of the Syrian people and the military that fights terrorists, and not the one that kills civilians.
Al-Khatib added that, according to the Egyptian Constitution, military interventions in a foreign country, should be approved by parliament first, which did not happen.
Al-Sisi said in an interview on Tuesday with a Portuguese TV channel that Egypt is unlikely to send military troops to Syria, adding that it will be better if the national army in Syria takes sole responsibility of achieving security and fighting militants instead.
Egypt has repeatedly announced its support for the political solution in Syria, reaffirming that it is the only way for stabilising the country without showing support for any political faction whatsoever. However, during Al-Sisi’s interview, it was the first explicit show of support from Egypt to Al-Assad.
On Thursday, the Kremlin also denied that Egyptian military troops were in Syria.
On 8 October, Egypt voted in favour of two different draft resolutions in the UN security council regarding a peace solution in Syria. The first one was drafted by France and backed by the US and the second one was filed by Russia, which is carrying out airstrikes in Syria and fighting in support of Al-Assad.
Saudi Arabia’s envoy to the security council described Egypt’s vote as “painful”. Al-Sisi said during his interview that Egypt voted in favour of the two draft resolutions because they both included key points regarding immediate ceasefire and access of humanitarian aid to all of Syria.
Egypt has been previously deemed to be implicitly supportive of Russia in Syria and backing Al-Assad; however, Egypt has now openly shifted to support Al-Assad, defying its former ally Saudi Arabia.
The political turmoil in Syria had started five years ago and the country was divided into several political factions, with militants spreading across the country. Al-Assad’s regime, backed by Russia, has executed war crimes in the Syrian city of Aleppo and received international condemnations.