Saudi Arabia offers ground troops in Syria

07 February 2016

The use of ground troops has been discussed in the past

Saudi Arabia has offered to send ground troops to Syria to fight the threat of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis), according to a statement from the kingdoms defence ministry on 4 February.

“The kingdom is ready to participate in any ground operations that the coalition (against Isis) may agree to carry out in Syria,” said military spokesman Brigadier General Ahmed al-Asiri during an interview with the local al-Arabiya news channel.

Other reports have suggested that ground troops would likely be deployed in coordination with Turkey following the setting up of a joint military body last month.

Saudi Arabia was one of the first Arab countries to join the anti-Isis coalition in September 2014 and mounted several air strikes on targets in Syria.

The kingdom’s activity in Syria has slowed down since it launched its intervention in neighbouring Yemen in early 2015.

The use of ground troops has been discussed in the past but is unlikely to materialise as Saudi Arabia continues to struggle with the war in Yemen, the effects of declining oil prices and the lack of experience in ground warfare.

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