Saudi says it would focus on fighting DAESH in Syria

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister says first priority of country in Syria is to fight DAESH terror organisation, not Syrian regime, in any future ground operation

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

Saudi soldiers march during Abdullah's Sword military drill in Hafar Al-Batin, Saudi Arabia.

Any contribution by Saudi forces to a US-led ground operation in Syria would concentrate on fighting the DAESH terror organisation not the Assad regime, Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said on Thursday.

"Saudi Arabia has expressed its readiness to send special forces to Syria as part of the coalition, with the goal of eliminating DAESH. This is the mission and the responsibility," Adel al-Jubeir said.

Saudi Arabia has been a strong opponent of Assad regime, but Jubeir stated any participating Saudi force would target DAESH as a priority.

"For now the objective of any ground forces or special forces would be to fight DAESH on the ground in order to seize territory from them," he said.

"If they enter Syria, these forces will work in the framework of the international coalition to fight DAESH, there will be no unilateral operations."

Asked if the mission could be enlarged to involve fights against Syrian regime forces, Jubeir said, "This would be something the international coalition would have to make a decision on."

Saudi operation in Yemen to continue until government restored

Adel al-Jubeir also said Saudi operations in Yemen will continue until the country's legal government is totally restored.

"It's a matter of time before the international coalition in Yemen succeeds in restoring the legitimate government... in control of all of Yemen's territory," he said.

"The support for the legitimate government will continue until the objectives are achieved or until an agreement is reached politically to achieve those objectives."

Iranian-backed Houthis have been battling the Saudi-led coalition since late March.

As a result of a Houthi advance on the southern city of Aden, Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi had to temporarily flee to the Saudi capital Riyadh and formally request help from Arab states to save Yemen from the Houthi militants.

Jubeir said the coalition had supported the government to regain more than three-quarters of Yemeni territory, open up supply lines for aid and "put enough pressure on the Houthis and Saleh for them to seriously consider a political process."

He rejected allegations that Saudi Arabia was mired in Yemen.

"A very, very small part of our total military is involved in Yemen and it is not bogged down," he said

TRTWorld and agencies