Saudi seeking greater contribution to US-led airstrikes: Pentagon
Iran Press TV
Thu Feb 11, 2016 6:35PM
The United States says Saudi Arabia has proposed to expand its role in the air campaign by the US-led coalition on purported positions of the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group.
US Defense Secretary Ash Carter was speaking on Thursday following a meeting with Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud, who also serves as the kingdom's defense minister, at NATO headquarters in the Belgian capital city of Brussels.
'The [US defense] secretary thanked the deputy crown prince for participating in today's meeting of [NATO] coalition defense ministers, and for Saudi Arabia's decision to increase its military contributions, especially the Kingdom's offer to expand its role in the air campaign,' Peter Cook, Carter's spokesman, said in statement.
Saudi Arabia is a member of the US-led coalition that has been conducting air raids against what are claimed to be the Daesh elements inside Syria without any authorization from Damascus or a UN mandate since September 2014. The US-led strikes have, on many occasions, targeted Syria's infrastructure and left many civilians dead.
This is while Riyadh has been among the staunch supporters of the Takfiri militants operating to overthrow the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad since early 2011.
Recently, Saudi Arabia also expressed its readiness to get involved in a ground operation in Syria.
Although swiftly welcomed by allies like Washington, the proposal attracted heavy criticism from Damascus, with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem saying "coffins" await any aggressor to the Arab country.
Saudi 'irreversible' decision to send troops to Syria
In a relevant development on Thursday, the Saudi state TV quoted Ahmed Asiri, spokesman for the kingdom's Defense Ministry, as calling "irreversible" Riyadh's offer to send ground troops to Syria.
The state TV further quoted Asiri as saying thta Saudi Arabia wanted the US-led coalition to agree to the kingdom's deployment.
Last September, President Assad warned that the territories held by Daesh had expanded while the number of militants had increased since the beginning of the US-led campaign in the Arab country.
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