Turkey and Saudi Arabia join hands to fight ISIS

Istanbul: Turkey and Saudi Arabia could launch a ground operation against Islamic State jihadists in Syria, the Turkish foreign minister said on Saturday, adding the kingdom was already sending jets to a Turkish base to attack the extremists.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. Pic/AFP
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. Pic/AFP

The coordinated plans by Riyadh and Ankara, who are pursuing an increasingly tight Istanbul: Turkey and Saudi Arabia could launch a ground operation against Islamic State jihadists in Syria, the Turkish foreign minister said on Saturday, adding the kingdom was already sending jets to a Turkish base to attack the extremists.

The coordinated plans by Riyadh and Ankara, who are pursuing an increasingly tight alliance, add a new element to the explosive situation in Syria where Russia has been backing a successful regime offensive against rebels.

“If there is a strategy (against IS) then Turkey and Saudi Arabia could enter into a ground operation,” said Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu after taking part in the Munich Security Conference.

"Some say 'Turkey is reluctant to take part in the fight against Daesh (IS)'. But it is Turkey that is making the most concrete proposals,” he said.

Cavusoglu added that Saudi Arabia is also sending planes to the Turkish base of Incirlik, a key hub for US-led coalition operations against IS, already used by Britain, France and the United States carrying for cross-border air raids.

Asked if Saudi Arabia could send troops to the Turkish border to enter Syria, Cavusoglu said, “This is something that could be desired but there is no plan. Saudi Arabia is sending planes and they said 'If the necessary time comes for a ground operation then we could send soldiers'.”

This comes after Assad’s defiant comment that he would recapture the whole of Syria and keep “fighting terrorism”. Saudi Arabia had already said earlier this month that it was ready to join any ground operation against IS. But this is the first time a top Turkish official has publicly raised the prospect, long the subject of speculation, of a joint ground incursion.

Turkey’s relations with fellow mainly Sunni Muslim power Saudi Arabia have warmed considerably in recent months. Ties had been damaged by Saudi's role in the 2013 ousting of Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi.

 

You May Like

MORE FROM JAGRAN

0 Comments

    Leave a Reply