Saudi Arabia could send thousands of ground forces to Syria, likely in coordination with Turkey, in order to take part in the fight against Islamic State radicals, The Guardian reports.
On Thursday, the Saudi embassy in Washington, DC said in a Twitter message that the Saudi Ministry of Defense stands ready to deploy ground troops to Syria to aid in the international anti-Daesh coalition efforts.
The Guardian said on Thursday citing unnamed Saudi sources that Saudi Arabia could deploy “thousands of special forces,” “probably in coordination with Turkey.”
Riyadh has been a nominal member of a US-led international coalition that has been launching airstrikes against IS in Syria since September 2014, without the permission of Damascus or the United Nations. In December 2015, Saudi Arabia started its own Muslim 34-nation coalition to fight Islamic extremism.
Turkey has recently come under intense criticism for allegedly purchasing oil from Daesh, which the terror group has been stealing from Syria and Iraq, as well as supplying Daesh with weapons.
The Russian Defense Ministry said on Thursday that there were “serious grounds” to suspect Turkey of preparing for a military incursion in Syria.
Turkey has previously deployed 250 military personnel and equipment in northern Iraq’s Nineveh province with a stated aim of training local troops that fight against Daesh. The move drew international condemnation and calls to respect Iraq’s sovereignty.