Speaking at a press conference alongside UN chief Antonio Guterres, Al-Jubeir said that Riyadh had held previous discussions with America to deploy troops in Syria after the civil war began.
“We are in discussions with the US and have been since the beginning of the Syrian crisis (in 2011) about sending forces into Syria,” Jubeir said at a press conference in Riyadh.
The comments were in response to a Wall Street Journal report on Monday that US President Donald Trump’s administration was seeking to assemble an Arab force, including troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, to help stabilize Syria.
The report follows weekend strikes by the United States, Britain and France against Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad’s regime that hit targets they said were linked to its chemical weapons program.
Jubeir emphasised the proposal to send its troops was “not new”.
“We made a proposal to the (previous US) Obama administration that if the US were to send forces… then Saudi Arabia would consider along with other countries sending forces as part of this contingent,” he said.
Syria’s war, the most tangled of the region’s conflicts, is a crucial point of contention pitting Riyadh and its allies, who mainly back Sunni Muslim rebels, against forces loyal to Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah.
Riyadh and Shiite rival Tehran also back opposing sides in other hot spots across the mainly Sunni Middle East, including Lebanon, Iraq and Saudi Arabia’s southern neighbor, Yemen.
The announcement by Saudi Arabia comes amid heightened tensions between Russia and the west as the war of words continue to escalate on the diplomatic stage.
Syrian state media said on Tuesday that inspectors had entered Douma to begin its investigation over the suspected chemical attack that took place in the area.
“Experts from the chemical weapons committee enter the town of Douma,” SANA wrote on its website.
The OPCW told Middle East Eye that it could not confirm or deny that its inspectors had entered Douma.
France said it is “highly likely” that evidence disappeared before weapons experts arrived in the area.
Damascus and Moscow had both denied using poison gas and issued statements from hospital workers in Douma, claiming that no chemical attack no place.
This article was chosen for republication based on the interest of our readers. Anti-Media republishes stories from a number of other independent news sources. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect Anti-Media editorial policy.
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