Any participation by Saudi forces in a US-led ground operation in Syria would focus on fighting the ISIS group not President Bashar al-Assad, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister told AFP on Thursday.
“Saudi Arabia has expressed its readiness to send special forces to Syria as part of the coalition, with the goal of eliminating Daesh. This is the mission and the responsibility,” Adel al-Jubeir said, using an Arabic acronym for ISIS.
Despite the fact that Riyadh has been a ferocious opponent of Assad, yet any participating Saudi force would prioritize the battle against ISIS, Jubeir confirmed.
“For now the objective of any ground forces or special forces would be to fight Daesh on the ground in order to seize territory from them,” he said.
“If they enter Syria, these forces will work in the framework of the international coalition to fight Daesh, there will be no unilateral operations,” he said.
Asked if the mission could be extended to include operations against Assad’s forces, Jubeir said: “This would be something the international coalition would have to make a decision on.”
Apropos Saudi Arabia’s military intervention in Yemen, Al-Jubeir stated that the Kingdom will not retreat until the country’s legitimate government is fully reinstated into power.
“It’s a matter of time before the international coalition in Yemen succeeds in restoring the legitimate government… in control of all of Yemen’s territory,” he said.
“The support for the legitimate government will continue until the objectives are achieved or until an agreement is reached politically to achieve those objectives.”