Saudi Arabia confirmed late Saturday that it sent military jets to the Turkish Incirlik military base, aiming to fight “Islamic State” (IS) in Syria.
Brigadier General Ahmed Asiri told Al-Arabiya TV that Saudi Arabia vowed to fight IS and that this step comes as a part of its efforts.
Asiri confirmed that the current Saudi presence in Incirlik is limited to jets. “What exist now are military air jets belonging to the Saudi air force, aiming to intensify the airstrikes,” he said.
Saudi Arabia has begun participating in the air raids against IS, a move that was welcomed by the US.
“Saudi Arabia is now sending planes to Turkey to Incirlik. They came and carried out inspections at the base,” Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu previously told Turkish Yeni Safak newspaper.
Political and security analyst at Delma Institute Mohamed Hineidi, based in the UAE, previously told Daily News Egypt that Saudi Arabia may be posturing towards Iran and encouraging the deployment of an anti-IS coalition that is also against Al-Assad and Iran.
“It may also be that Riyadh wants to prevent [Bashaar] Al-Assad from portraying himself as the only bulwark and vanguard against [IS] following his victories against the opposition,” he said. “Al-Assad’s opponents, and Saudi Arabia being the first among them, believe the Syrian leader is manoeuvring himself to portray to the world that in Syria, it is either him or [IS].”
Meanwhile Russia expressed its expectation during the Munich security conference on Saturday that the ceasefire plan in Syria will fail.
The regime troops, backed by Russian jets, restored some areas that had been seized by the opposition near Aleppo and have moved forward towards Raqqa, IS’s stronghold.
US secretary of state John Kerry criticised Russia’s intervention in Syria to help its ally Al-Assad while Russia has insisted that it is only fighting militant groups.
In another development, Turkish air forces struck areas in northern Syria that are controlled by the Kurdish protection units for the second day.
Turkish prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Saturday the raids had taken place under “the rules of engagement against forces that represented a threat in Azaz and the surrounding area”.
Turkey demanded that Syrian Kurdish YPG militia withdraw from areas it controls in Aleppo. However the YPG refused and said it will confront any Turkish intervention in Syria.
The Syrian foreign minister urged the UN Security Council Sunday to stop the “crimes of Ankara”.