US: Saudi Wants Greater Role in US-Led Airstrikes against ISIS

US: Saudi Wants Greater Role in US-Led Airstrikes against ISIS
Thu Feb 11, 2016 22:29:27

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 (ISIS/ISIL) 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, Press TV reported.

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