2/04/2016

Saudi Arabia 'ready to send ground troops' to fight Isis in Syria if US-led coalition agrees

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/saudia-arabia-read-to-send-ground-troops-to-fight-isis-in-syria-if-us-led-coalition-agrees-a6854046.html

Kingdom has taken part in air strikes against militant group since September 2014

A Saudi military spokesman has said the kingdom is ready to send ground troops to fight Isis in Syria if the US-led coalition agrees. 
Brigardier General Ahmed Asiri said the country will commit ground troops to the conflict for the first time if its coalition partners agree during an upcoming meeting of participating defence ministers in Brussels this month. 
Saudi Arabia has taken part in the coalition's air strikes since the US began their air assault on Isis in September 2014. 
Brig. Gen. Asiri said they were determined to "fight and defeat Daesh" but did not say how many troops the kingdom would send.
He said: "If there was a consensus from the leadership of the coalition, the kingdom is willing to participate in these efforts because we believe that aerial operations are not the ideal solution and there must be a twin mix of aerial and ground operations".
The kingdom is currently embroiled in the conflict against Iran-allied Houthi rebels in Yemen which is said to be putting strain on the Saudi economy - which has already been battered in a fall in the oil price. 
Asked about the Saudi offer at a briefing, US State Department spokesman John Kirby said while the coalition was generally supportive of members contributing more to the struggle against the group he did not want to comment on a proposal he had not seen. 
He said: "I would not want to comment specifically on this until we've had a chance to review it".
The announcement comes just a day after the UN-led peace talks in Geneva were "temporarily halted" after a major advance by pro-government forces disrupted a vital supply line for rebels north of Aleppo. 
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