News / Middle East

    Saudi Warplanes Land in Turkey for IS Mission

    Saudi Warplanes Land in Turkey for Islamic State Missioni
    VOA News
    February 26, 2016 6:42 PM
    Four Saudi warplanes landed at Incirlik military base in Turkey on Friday to join the U.S-led Western coalition aerial raids against the Islamic State (IS) in Syria, Turkish officials and news reports say.

    Four Saudi warplanes landed at Incirlik military base in Turkey on Friday to join the U.S-led Western coalition aerial raids against the Islamic State (IS) in Syria, Turkish officials and news reports say.

    VOA reporter Tan Cetin was near the Turkish airbase and confirmed the arrival of the Saudi warplanes as they landed in the morning.

    This came as a U.S.-Russian-brokered cease-fire unfolded in Syria. The cease-fire does not pertain to coalition forces bombing IS and other terrorist targets, and a cessation in the Syrian civil war could lead to a new coalition strategy against IS in Syria and Iraq, analysts say.

    The Saudi government has not confirmed the arrival of the F-15 jet fighters at the Turkish base. But analysts in the kingdom say Riyadh wants to see how the Syrian cease-fire works out on the ground.

    “The manifestation of the cease-fire would have a great impact on how Saudi Arabia and its allies go about their Syria policy,” a local analyst in Saudi Arabia told VOA, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

    Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters Thursday that Saudi warplanes would arrive on Friday, adding that Saudi ground troops have also been deployed to Turkey.

    Both countries had hinted at the possibility of deploying ground troops to Syria, but observers say the cease-fire has put those prospects on hold.

    Complications for US

    While the Saudi planes are joining the U.S.-led coalition, Saudi Arabia is siding with Ankara in its diplomatic dispute with Washington over U.S. support of Kurdish forces in Syria. Ankara sees the Kurdish forces as a threat to Turkey and wants Washington to stop U.S. support.

    Analysts say the arrival of Saudi military into the conflict zone adds new complications for Washington.

    “[This] is a message to the U.S. especially,” said Bulent Aliriza, director of Turkey program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).
    “What Saudis are saying in fact is that they are in solidarity with Turkey,” he told VOA. “They will not let Washington or anybody else impose any solution that they think is unacceptable.”

    Saudi Arabia has recently resumed its involvement in the international campaign against IS. And U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter on Thursday welcomed Riyadh’s commitment to expand its role in the war on terror.

    The U.S.-led coalition has effectively used the base to launch attacks on IS militants in Syria. The airstrikes have helped Syrian Kurdish forces to make advances against the terror group in Syria.

    Turkish officials have threatened to close the airbase amidst disagreements with Washington over the U.S. alliance with Syrian Kurds.

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    Comment Sorting
    by: Syed Ali
    February 28, 2016 11:30 AM
    Marcus, it seems like your only source of information is this biased media. Asad did not start this war, those who were against him and were supported by Sunnis Wahabi regimes started this bloody mess. Most of the rebel fighters are foreigners in Syria. The only problem of middle east is Saudi regime and our blind support to them. Saudis supported those who were against their government in Syria but the same regime kill the protesters in Bahrain and in Yemen who were protesting the unjust and unfair treatment by their rulers. As 0 long as this Saudi Wahabis are there, we cannot expect peace in the world.

    by: Marcus Aurelius II from: NJ USA
    February 26, 2016 9:03 PM
    "Turkish officials have threatened to close the airbase amidst disagreements with Washington over the U.S. alliance with Syrian Kurds."

    This would be a good time for the US to get out of the war. It is not America's war. This war belongs to the Mideast, Europe, Russia, but not to the US. The conflict was created by Assad and abetted by Russia and Iran. The US should write the Mideast off as a lost cause. The US no longer depends on Mideast oil and gas, it can produce enough for itself.

    Every time I hear criticism about how much better life is in European countries like Norway and Denmark, I think about how much money we wasted defending them for decades and what it would have bought at home if those other countries had to pay for their own defense. How rich would Germany be if it had to maintain a force that could have defended it against the USSR for forty years?
    In Response

    by: Marcus Aurelius II from: NJ USA
    February 27, 2016 4:47 PM
    meanbill I think your views are simplistic. This is a very complicated war. Turkey is fighting the Kurds. Saudi Arabia is fighting Iran. Russia is trying to save Assad. The US is fighting IS. Russia is killing the rebels because it wants to give the world only one choice, between Assad and IS. This is why most of their efforts are directed against the rebels, not IS. Europe is worried about more migrants and terrorists from anywhere and everywhere.

    The US didn't start this war, Assad did. The US is relatively at low risk. The possibility of accidental direct confrontation with Russia and escalation is Washington's worst nightmare. We do not want to fight WWIII over Syria or Ukraine. This is why the US should stay away from Syria. We have little to gain and much to lose. Others are in far greater peril. Let them settle it. In the end, if all else fails the US can clean the mess up when everyone else has given up and begs us to fix it. We could but do we really want to? Why is it always up to America all the time?
    In Response

    by: meanbill from: USA
    February 27, 2016 9:13 AM
    Wars are only between (2 sides) no matter how many allies they have on their side, and this Syrian war is between the US and the Syrian government no matter what anybody says? .. It's the US with support from NATO and the Sunni Muslim countries, kingdoms and emirates and Sunni Muslim terrorist/rebels, [versus], the Syrian government with support from the Russians and Shia Muslim Iran and Hezbollah fighters? .. Since the US and Russia are the 2 major powers on opposing sides, they will negotiate the terms and conditions of the ceasefire and the end to the war?

    The Russians will negotiate for the Syrian government and their allies, and the US will negotiate for themselves and their allies, and they will decide if the Syrian war continues or ends? .. The US will still try to get Assad removed, [but], the Russians need Assad to keep the Syrian army together to fight the terrorists? .. No matter what the US or the Russian allies want or demand, it'll be what the US and Russians negotiated settlement stipulates? .. ignore the propaganda, it'll drive you crazy?
    In Response

    by: meanbill from: USA
    February 26, 2016 11:13 PM
    Hey Marcus _ If not for the US, there would never have been a Syrian war? .. The US was the only country in the world powerful enough with NATO support to wage this proxy war on Syria, and now Europe is suffering the aftereffects of following the US in their stupid conflicts and wars? .. They helped create the millions of displaced homeless migrants flooding Europe now? .. Give the Europeans sympathy? .. It doesn't cost anything?

    But history will prove this war would never have happened if the US didn't arm and train all those tens of thousands of foreign Sunni Muslim extremists, fanatics and insane in Turkey and Jordan to wage Jihad war on the Shia Muslim government of Assad and Syria, to replace it with a handpicked un-elected Sunni Muslim government, [but then], they joined with the al-Baghdadi ISIL army and al-Qaeda instead? .. No matter how hard they try, they can't change recorded history? .. nor you?

    by: AHMED from: INDIA
    February 26, 2016 8:41 PM
    Saudi Arab invested Billions of Dollars to over through Assad. Now they are spending again Billions of Dollars to dismantle IS.
    IS Sponsored by Saudi Arab. I think Saudi have no other work except create problems for Muslims in Muslim countries. This is very sad affairs that Muslims have unlimited problems in Muslim countries but they are happy and have satisfied life in Non Muslim countries.
    Saudi Arab created and funded so many Terrorist Groups from their Oil Income, Al Qaida, Daesh, Nusrat Front, Booko Haram, Taliban and IS. Saudi Locals are not enjoying life with Oil Income, only Royal Family and Terrorist have power to enjoy their life. What is silly use of oil income. There are so many Muslims who cannot feed meal to their families, but Saudi feel happy to increase their pain in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya and Pakistan.
    In Response

    by: Stiillcan
    February 28, 2016 10:43 PM
    It is really truth that all Muslims should digest why a handful of Saudis dictating all Muslim world can't the educated Muslims come out of fundamentals theory and fight terrorism

    by: meanbill from: USA
    February 26, 2016 4:58 PM
    It seems like the US has a (plan-B) and the Turks and the Saudis are preparing for the US to force the Russians into accepting the (US plan-B) by sabotaging the Syrian war ceasefire? .. One thing is for sure, the Russians will accept independent states in Syria (because they have about 15 in Russia) even though Assad and Syria would be opposed to them? .. But the Russians need Assad to hold the Syrian army together to defeat the terrorists on the ground? .. Only the US and Russia (as the main powers) will decide the outcome of this Syrian war? .. No matter what the propagandists and news media pundits say?

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