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situation report

Feb 19, 2016 | 18:27 GMT

1 min read

Saudi Arabia: Foreign Minister Supports Supplying Rebels With Missiles

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said Feb. 19 that Riyadh favors changing the balance in Syria by supplying surface-to-air missiles for moderate Syrian rebels to use against loyalist aircraft, AFP reported citing an interview in Der Spiegel. The minister said, however, that this decision could not be made by Saudi Arabia. He cited the example of the U.S. program to supply Afghan militants in the 1980s, which helped them defeat Soviet forces. For several weeks, Saudi Arabia has been making statements that it would send ground troops into Syria if the United States decided to intervene. Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates all understand the risks associated with putting forces in the air and on the ground with Russian — and potentially even Iranian — fighter jets operating in the same space. The proliferation of players on the battlefield is inevitable, but the task of mitigating the potential for skirmishes falls to Washington.

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