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Saudi Arabia and Bahrain offered to send troops to Syria to combat both Islamic State and “the brutal Assad regime”

The Bahraini ambassador said the Saudi initiative in Syria was meant to combat both Islamic State and “the brutal Assad regime”

The White House welcomed on Friday Saudi Arabia’s announcement that it was prepared to ramp up its commitment to fighting Daesh in Syria.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the Saudi announcement on Thursday was a response to US Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s plea for coalition partners to step up contributions to the fight against Daesh.

“So we certainly welcome the announcement from our partners in Saudi Arabia that they would be prepared to ramp up their commitment militarily to this effort,” he told reporters.

Earnest said it was not clear whether the Saudi offer would include a significant contingent of ground troops or the deployment of special operations forces.

Earlier, Carter said increased activity by other countries would make it easier for the US to accelerate its fight against Daesh.

“That kind of news is very welcome.”

Carter said he looked forward to discussing the offer of ground troops with the Saudi defense minister in Brussels next week.


Bahrain also offers to send troops

Bahrain is ready to commit ground troops to Syria as part of a U.-S.-led coalition against Islamic State, the Gulf island state said on Friday, a day after its larger neighbour and close ally Saudi Arabia announced a similar pledge.

Bahraini ambassador to Britain Sheikh Fawaz bin Mohammed al-Khalifa said in a statement that Bahrain would commit troops to operate “in concert with the Saudis” under what he called the international coalition against terrorism.

He added that the United Arab Emirates, a fellow member of the Saudi-dominated Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), was also ready to commit troops, echoing an assertion made late last year by UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash.

Saudi Arabia said on Thursday it was ready to participate in any ground operations in Syria if the U.S.-led alliance decides to start such operations, an adviser to the Saudi defence minister said.

The Bahraini ambassador said the Saudi initiative in Syria was meant to combat both Islamic State and “the brutal Assad regime”, a reference to President Bashar al-Assad, a bitter foe of Saudi Arabia.

Arab News/ Reuters

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