Turkey and Saudi Arabia May Launch Ground Operation in Syria

Saudi Arabia is 'ready to send both jets and troops' to Turkish air base, foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says.

A Turkish F-16 fighter jet takes off from Incirlik airbase in the southern city of Adana, Turkey, in this July 27, 2015 file picture.

AP - Turkey's foreign minister says his country and Saudi Arabia may launch ground operations against the Islamic State group in Syria, Turkish media reported Saturday.

After taking part at a security conference in Munich, Mevlut Cavusoglu said Saudi Arabia was "ready to send both jets and troops" to Turkey's Incirlik air base, Saturday's edition of the Yeni Safak pro-government newspaper quoted him as saying.

"Turkey and Saudi Arabia may launch an operation (against ISIS) from the land," he added, the paper said.

Cavusoglu did not specify the number of troops or jets, or the timing of a possible Saudi deployment, but said exploratory visits have been made.

The base is used by the U.S.-led coalition in the campaign against the Islamic State group.

Turkish television channels NTV and CNN Turk also carried remarks by the minister suggesting that Turkey and Saudi Arabia see eye to eye on the need for ground operations in Syria.

"At every coalition meeting we have always emphasized the need for an extensive result-oriented strategy in the fight against the (Islamic State) terrorist group," the newspaper quoted Cavusoglu as saying.

"If we have such a strategy, then Turkey and Saudi Arabia may launch an operation from the land," he added.

Turkey hosts more than 2.5 million Syrian refugees and tens of thousands more have massed at its borders after a fierce government offensive around Aleppo.