Pentagon says Saudis joined strikes on DAESH over weekend

Pentagon says Saudi Arabia joined US-led air strikes against DAESH over weekend

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Updated Feb 17, 2016

Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said on Tuesday that Saudi Arabia joined the US led coalition air strikes against DAESH targets over the weekend.

"They (the Saudis) did participate in strikes over the weekend," Cook said in a news briefing on Tuesday without specifying Saudi's role in the strikes.

US Defense Secretary Ash Carter had welcomed last week Saudi Arabia’s decision to expand its contributions in the fight against DAESH and the kingdom's offer to send ground troops into Syria to fight against the terrorist group as part of the US-led coalition.

The United States has been leading a 65 country coalition against DAESH in Iraq and Syria since 2014.

Regarding a ground operation in Syria, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Tuesday that Turkey, Saudi Arabia and some European allies want a ground operation in Syria, but there is no consensus in the coalition and a strategy for such an incursion has not been seriously debated.

"Some countries like us, Saudi Arabia and some other Western European countries have said that a ground operation is necessary ... But to expect this only from Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar is neither right nor realistic," Mevlut Cavusoglu said in an interview in Ankara.

Saudi Arabia also agreed with Turkey last week to deploy Saudi jets in Turkey's Incirlik Air Base to be used in missions against DAESH.

Turkish Defence Minister Ismet Yilmaz said on Sunday that "four [Saudi] F-16s will come, the decision has been taken."

Saudi Arabia has also been supporting the Syrian opposition against the Bashar al Assad regime and wants him to leave office to reach a solution in Syria. 

The Kingdom has already intensified its military role in the region over the last year by leading a coalition against Houthi militants in Yemen to bring President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi back to power and give him full control of the country.

TRTWorld and agencies