Sulaimaniyah, Kurdistan – According to a report by the Saudi-owned news organization al-Arabiya, the Wahhabi Kingdom confirmed that it is planning to deploy troops to Syria. Riyadh says that its troops will confront and fight ISIS alongside coalition forces.
The announcement comes after several weeks of rumors that the Gulf state would engage in the Syrian civil war. Although the Arab Kingdom declares ISIS an enemy, its main opponent remains Iran and its Syrian proxy Bashar al-Assad.
Assad and his allies, including Russia, will clearly not welcome the Saudi intervention, but rather see it as an attempt to halt the Syrian regime’s progress against rebel forces.
Since the Russian intervention in September 2015, the Assad-regime had regained strength and began to reclaim regions it had lost in the past to rebel or terrorist groups. Due to Assad’s close ties to Iran, fears of an increasing and hostile influence of Tehran occur among Israel and the Sunni powers of the Middle East.
On Thursday, Saudi brigadier-general Ahmed Al-Assiri said that the Saudi-led Muslim Military Alliance, which includes 35 predominantly Sunni Muslim countries from Asia and Africa, will go into effect in about two months.
Saudi Arabia has engaged in several proxy wars against its Shiite opponent Iran. In a recent statement, the Saudi Kingdom declared that it will remove Syria’s Assad "by force" if he refuses to step down on his own.