Saudi says Syrian rebels need surface-to-air missiles

Saudi Arabia's foreign minister says Syrian moderate rebels should be armed with surface-to-air missiles against Russian-backed Syrian regime, German news weekly reports

Photo by: AFP (Archive)
Photo by: AFP (Archive)

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir speaks in Washington, DC on 4 September 2015.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al Jubeir said Syrian rebels should be armed with surface-to-air missiles in order to defend themselves against air attacks carried out by Russia and Bashar al Assad regime,  a German news weekly reported Friday.

"We believe that introducing surface-to-air missiles in Syria is going to change the balance of power on the ground," he said.

"It will allow the moderate opposition to be able to neutralise the helicopters and aircraft that are dropping chemicals and have been carpet-bombing them, just like surface-to-air missiles in Afghanistan were able to change the balance of power there."

 Jubeir renewed his calls for the Syrian regime to step down so that a political solution to the five-year-long war may be reached.

"The other option is that the war goes on and Assad is being defeated," Jubeir said.

"This is a decision that the international coalition will have to make," Jubeir added. "This is not Saudi Arabia's decision."

Many western countries, Turkey and some Gulf nations including Saudi Arabia are insisting that Assad leave his position so that stability and peace may be ensured in the country which was dragged into a civil war that has been ongoing for the past five years and has killed at least 260,000 Syrians.

TRTWorld and agencies