Assiri: Saudi Arabia ready to join Raqqa battle

Saudi Arabia is prepared to join a US-led international coalition preparing an operation to isolate ISIS militants in the Syrian city of Raqqa, Arab Coalition spokesman Maj Gen. Ahmed Al-Assiri told

Assiri expressed Saudi Arabia’s willingness to take part in the operation if it was asked to do so.

“The kingdom is committed to the fight against ISIS in Syria as part of an international coalition, including air sorties delegated to it, whether from within the kingdom or via its warplanes stationed at the Turkish Incirlik base,” he told the website.

The US-led coalition intends to start an operation to retake ISIS’s de facto capital of Raqqa.

With regard to ground operations, Assiri said that the international coalition agreed in a meeting in Washington to rely on local Syrian forces and would provide air coverage for them.

He also noted that Saudi Arabia’s air force participated in US-led airstrikes against ISIS in Syria and has flown 201 sorties since 2014.

When asked if Saudi Arabia is interested in joining the ongoing battle to retake Mosul, Assiri said the Kingdom never took part in any operations in Iraq, citing that it cannot be involved in operations in which the Iranian-backed Popular Mobilization forces are involved.


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