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Iran Press TV

Bahrain ready for Syria deployment under Saudi lead: Diplomat

Iran Press TV

Sat Feb 6, 2016 6:12AM

The tiny Persian Gulf state of Bahrain says it is ready to deploy ground forces to Syria under the Saudi leadership as foreign-backed militants are losing ground in the face of the Syrian army advances.

The announcement by Bahraini Ambassador to Britain Sheikh Fawaz bin Mohammed Al Khalifa on Friday came after Saudi Arabia said it was ready to send troops to Syria.

In a statement, Sheikh Fawaz said Manama would commit troops to operate "in concert with the Saudis" in Syria.

The Bahraini diplomat said the Saudi initiative was meant to combat both Daesh and the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

"Under the leadership of Saudi Arabia, the [Persian] Gulf states are determined to take positive action within the region and globally to combat terrorism and extremism, from whatever quarter they emanate," he said.

Sheikh Fawaz said the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was also ready to commit troops to Syria.

Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE are members of the US coalition that has been conducting air raids inside Syria since September 2014 without the Syrian government's permit or a UN mandate.

They are staunchly opposed to the Syrian government, providing Takfiri militants with arms and funds to topple President Assad.

The Syrian army and allied fighters have made significant advances in recent weeks, especially in the areas near the second city of Aleppo.

In a surprise statement broadcast on the Saudi-owned Al Arabiya news network on Thursday, a spokesman for the Saudi defense ministry suggested that the kingdom could send troops to Syria.

"The kingdom of Saudi Arabia is prepared to participate in any ground operations that the anti-Daesh coalition might agree to carry out in Syria if there is consensus among coalition leaders," the spokesman, Ahmed Asiri, said.

Pentagon chief Ashton Carter welcomed the offer, saying he looked forward to discussing it with the Saudi defense minister in Brussels next week.



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