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Turkey, Saudi Arabia could launch ground operation in Syria: Turkish FM

Turkey and Saudi Arabia could launch a ground operation in Syria against the Islamic State (IS) militant group, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was quoted as saying on Saturday.

"If there will be a comprehensive strategy within the scope of fight against IS, we all said that Turkey and Saudi Arabia could launch a ground operation," the minister was quoted by Turkey's Haberturk daily as saying after attending the Munich Security Conference.

He also said that Riyadh will send warplanes to the Incirlik Air Base in Turkey's southern province of Adana.

Currently, the U.S., Britain and France are using the base to carry out airstrikes on IS targets in Syria.

"They did a reconnaissance of the base," Cavusoglu said. "The planes will arrive at Incirlik. At the moment it is not clear how many planes will come."

Saudi officials also said that Riyadh could send troops "if necessary time comes for a ground operation," Cavusoglu said, adding that Turkey and Saudi Arabia have been backing a ground operation in Syria "from the very beginning."

As Syrian government forces are making gains lately on the battlegrounds, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and others have voiced readiness to deepen their military intervention in the war-torn country.

A Saudi military spokesman has pledged to send in ground troops in case of the U.S.-led coalition's agreement to launch a groud operation in Syria, while the UAE has agreed to dispatch special forces there, as claimed by U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter.

The Russian Defense Ministry claimed early this month that it had "reasonable grounds to suspect intensive training in Turkey for a military invasion of the territory of a sovereign state - the Syrian Arab Republic."

[Source: Xinhua, Istanbul, 13Feb16]

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small logoThis document has been published on 15Feb16 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.