Saudi Arabia Confirms Sending Jets to Turkey for IS Fight

Residents stand near a poster of Syria's president Bashar al-Assad in Damascus suburbs. Syria has said it will resist any attempts by other nations to send ground troops to fight Daesh. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki

CAIRO, Feb 14  – Saudi Arabia confirmed late on Saturday it sent aircraft to NATO-member Turkey’s Incirlik air base for the fight against Daesh (IS) militants.

Brigadier General Ahmed al Assiri, adviser in the office of Saudi Arabia’s minister of defence, told pan-Arab Al Arabiya television that the kingdom was committed to stepping up the fighting against Daesh and that the move was part of those efforts.

He also said that the current presence in the air base was limited to aircraft and no ground troops had been sent.

“What is present now is aircraft that are part of the Saudi Arabian forces,” Assiri said in response to a question on whether ground troops were included.

Saudi Arabia has resumed its participation in air strikes against Daesh in recent weeks and U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Thursday welcomed its commitment to expand its role.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told the Yeni Safak newspaper on Saturday that Saudi Arabia had carried out inspections at the air base in preparation to sending aircraft.

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