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Thursday, 4 February 2016

Saudi: ready to join ground operation in Syria

The spokesman for Saudi Arabia’s military said on Thursday the kingdom was ready to join any ground operation in Syria if required by the U.S.-led coalition.

"The kingdom is ready to participate in any ground operations that the coalition (against Islamic State) may agree to carry out in Syria," said military spokesman Brigadier General Ahmed al-Asiri during an interview with Al Arabiya News Channel.

"If there was a consensus from the leadership of the coalition, the kingdom is willing to participate in these efforts because we believe that aerial operations are not the ideal solution and there must be a twin mix of aerial and ground operations," Asiri said.

Since late 2014 Saudi Arabia has been part of a U.S.-led coalition which officially has 65 members and has been bombing the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group which seized large parts of Syria and Iraq.

Asiri is spokesman for a separate Saudi-led Arab coalition which, since March, has conducted air strikes and ground operations in Yemen.

That coalition supports the government there in its fight against Houthi rebels who seized much of the country and are backed by Iran.

Iran is also one of the main allies of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose regime has been fighting an insurgency for about five years.

Saudi Arabia supports more moderate rebels against Assad's forces.

In comments over Asiri's statements, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on Thursday the Saudi government has indicated willingness to do more in the fight against ISIS, adding that he looks forward to discussing with Saudi officials in Brussels next week...
 alarabiya.net
4/2/16

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