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Saudi prince says ‘concrete action on the ground’ needed to defeat ISIL

Gulf News | 2016/02/22 at 11:21 PM | 22 Views

Saudi Arabia’s Prince Turki Al Faisal has warned that US-led airstrikes alone won’t be enough to defeat militant group ISIL and end the Syrian civil war.

The influential prince, previously head of intelligence and Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the US and UK, said that the kingdom’s offer to send troops to Syria showed concerns that the US-led coalition was unlikely to succeed except through a ground intervention.

“The world community has the capability, economic, political, military and otherwise, to put a stop to the killing,” Prince Turki was reported as saying, during a lunch meeting in Abu Dhabi.

“I think it is high time that people said enough is enough, but simply saying it is not going to do it. There has to be concrete action on the ground to put a stop to the killing.”

The prince’s comments echo remarks made by an advisor to the Saudi defence minister earlier this month, who confirmed the kingdom was ready to participate in ground operations if such a decision was taken by the US-led alliance.

“The kingdom is ready to participate in any ground operations that the coalition (against ISIL) may agree to carry out in Syria,” Brigadier General Ahmed Asseri, who is also the spokesman for the Saudi-led Arab coalition in Yemen, told the Saudi-owned al-Arabiya TV in an interview.

Asseri said Saudi Arabia had been an active member of the US-led coalition that had been fighting ISIL in Syria since 2014, and had carried out more than 190 aerial missions.

He said Saudi Arabia, which has been leading Arab military operations against the Iran-allied Houthis in Yemen, believed that to win against ISIL, the coalition needed to combine aerial operations with ground operations.

Prince Faisal also said that because the majority of victims of terrorist acts are Muslims, “it is our responsibility as Muslim countries to play the primary role in fighting this disease that has impacted us all.”

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