Saudi Arabia’s decision to send troops to Syria to fight Islamic State (ISIS) is “final,” the spokesman of the Saudi-led coalition force in Yemen announced on Thursday.
Brig. Gen. Ahmed Al-Assiri said that Riyadh is “ready” and will fight with its U.S.-led coalition allies to defeat ISIS in Syria. According to Al Arabiya, however, he said questions about any future ground operations should be directed to Washington.
“We are representing Saudi’s [decision] only” in sending troops, he said.
He also relayed a message to Iran when he said that if Tehran is serious in fighting ISIS, it must stop supporting “terrorism” in Syria and Yemen.
Tehran supports the Houthi militia in Yemen against the internationally-recognized government there, and is a key ally to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
Al-Assiri also said that the Islamic Military Alliance will come into being in two months' time.
Thirty-five Muslim countries released a joint statement announcing the formation of the alliance against terrorism in December of 2015. The alliance’s joint command center is located in the Saudi capital.
The announcement was welcomed by the United States.
The states listed as joining the new coalition included Egypt, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Malaysia, Pakistan and several African nations.
The list did not include Shi'ite Muslim Iran.
The statement cited "a duty to protect the Islamic nation from the evils of all terrorist groups and organizations, whatever their sect and name, which wreak death and corruption on earth and aim to terrorize the innocent."