Qatar-led coalition to lead fight against ISIS in Syria
A new Qatar-backed coalition is expected to be formed in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) group, which is on the rise in Syria, according to a senior military source in the region.
The source, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media, said that the coalition, which will be formally formed by Qatar on Tuesday, is likely to include several Arab countries that are fighting the jihadists.
“There are several Arab states that are involved in this campaign.
The main ones are Qatar and Saudi Arabia,” the source said.
He did not elaborate on the nature of the campaign, but said it would include “tens of thousands of Iraqi and Syrian troops and equipment”.
The move is being seen as a response to the US and other Western countries, particularly the UK, which have been arming Syrian rebels with weapons.
Qatar has also been an outspoken critic of the Syrian government, which it sees as hostile to its interests.
However, it has also helped the Syrian opposition, which has been fighting the Islamic state (IS, also known as ISIS), in recent months.
Saudi Arabia, which backs the Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, has also offered to help the opposition and has allowed foreign fighters to join.
While the Saudi-led Coalition is currently fighting the IS group in Syria and Iraq, it is also expected to form a military presence in Lebanon to protect the kingdom’s southern border against any attacks by Hezbollah, Iran and other regional powers.
Iran has also provided arms to the Syrian rebels, and Qatar has sent military aircraft to help bolster their operations.
This week, Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said that his country would provide “support” to the Lebanese armed forces if needed.
Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia and the UAE signed an agreement for a Saudi-backed militia to be based in the Lebanese border town of Tripoli.
Meanwhile, Saudi forces have also reportedly been conducting military exercises in Yemen, where they have reportedly clashed with Iranian-backed Houthi fighters.
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