Israel and Saudis to train Syria militants
Israel is seeking to launch a joint operation with Saudi Arabia to train foreign-backed militants operating against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Israeli daily Haaretz quoted American military officials as saying that the issue of training militants in Syria was raised during a meeting between Israeli Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and General Martin Dempsey, the US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Jerusalem (al-Quds) on Monday.
The two discussed the prospects of security cooperation between Tel Aviv and some Arab countries in the Persian Gulf.
Dempsey said during a joint press conference in al-Quds that the talks included “an outreach to other partners who may not have been willing to be partners in the past.”
US military officials said the cooperation would also include intelligence-sharing and “joint counterterrorism” exercises.
The Israeli military chief reportedly convinced Dempsey that they could deal with the threats posed by radical elements in Syria.
A number of US officials have warned that the rise of radicalism in Syria could become a breeding ground for terrorist networks to operate worldwide.
Syria has been gripped by deadly violence since 2011. Over 140,000 people have been reportedly killed and millions displaced due to the violence fueled by the foreign-backed militants.
Western powers and some of their regional allies – especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey – are reportedly supporting the militants operating inside Syria.