Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir delivers a statement after a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at the State Department in Washington, February 8, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
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Saudi forces participating in any U.S.-led ground operation in Syria would focus on fighting ISIS not the Damascus regime, the kingdom's foreign minister told AFP Thursday.On Syria, Jubeir said any Saudi force on the ground would make the battle against ISIS its priority, despite Riyadh's fierce opposition to President Bashar Assad.Saudi Arabia has backed rebel forces fighting Assad in the country's nearly five-year civil war and insists he must leave office for the conflict to be resolved.Saudi Arabia has been part of the U.S.-led coalition bombing ISIS in Syria and Iraq since late 2014 .Some analysts said the kingdom would not be able or willing to send many forces to a possible U.S.-led operation in Syria because it is mired in the nearly year-long effort supporting Yemen's government. Jubeir said the coalition had helped the government reclaim more than three-quarters of Yemeni territory, open up supply lines for aid and "put enough pressure on the Huthis and Saleh for them to seriously consider a political process".He dismissed claims that Saudi Arabia was mired in the conflict.
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