Saudis, Other Gulf States Mull Sending Troops to Syria

Saudi FM: Not Excluding Sending Special Forces Into Syria

According to Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, his nation, along with the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Bahrain are engaged in discussions about the possibility of sending ground troops, particularly special forces, into Syria to fight ISIS.

Jubeir says he believes it is not currently clear if troops are needed, but that it would be “in the next few weeks,” and that the Saudis in particular are have “not excluded” any possibility. The proposal was couched as being a mirror to recent US deployments of special forces into Syria.

Though the US troops are deployed in Hasakeh, likely embedding with the Kurds, it is unclear where Saudi forces would embed, as their primary allies in Syria are Islamist factions like Ahrar al-Sham with limited territory of their own.

Another potential complicating factor for a Saudi special forces operation is the ongoing war in Yemen, in which large numbers of Saudi and other GCC troops are presently engaged. Indeed, the Saudi special forces commander was killed only yesterday in a missile strike in Yemen.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.