February 6, 2016
Saudi Arabia has voiced readiness to participate in any ground operations in Syria if the US-led coalition allegedly targeting terrorists decides to start such operations.
“The kingdom is ready to participate in any ground operations that the [so-called] coalition (against Daesh) may agree to carry out in Syria,” Brigadier General Ahmed Asseri, an adviser to the Saudi defense minister, told the Saudi-owned al-Arabiya TV on Thursday.
Asseri said Saudi Arabia had carried out more than 190 aerial missions as part of the coalition.
He said that Saudi Arabia believes that to defeat the Daesh Takfiri terrorists, the US-led coalition needs to bolster aerial assaults with ground operations.
“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,” Asseri said.
Asked about the comments, US State Department spokesman John Kirby also said Washington favors having partners contribute more in the so-called fight against Daesh, but added, “I would not want to comment specifically on this until we’ve had a chance to review it.”
Saudi Arabia is a member of the US-led coalition that has been conducting air raids against what are claimed to be the Daesh terrorists inside Syria without any authorization from Damascus or a UN mandate since Since September 2014.
The air assaults in Syria are an extension of the US-led aerial campaign against purported Daesh positions in Iraq, which started in August 2014.
The US-led strikes have on many occasions targeted infrastructures and left many civilians dead.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said during an interview in March 2015 that the US-led military campaign does not aim to “do away” with the terror group.
Washington and its regional allies, including Turkey and Saudi Arabia, have been backing militants fighting against the Syrian government and people. Since the Syria conflict started in 2011, they have been providing military and financial aid to the militants who are accused of widespread war crimes and crimes against civilians.
Daesh Takfirism is largely influenced by Wahhabism, the radical ideology dominating Saudi Arabia and freely preached by Saudi scholars. Despite, the Saudi king’s pledge, such preachments continue unabated.