AMUDE (Kurdistan 24) – Dr. Sa’ad Bin Omer, a Saudi expert and former commander with the Saudi Arabian Special Forces, at an international forum on the Islamic State in northeastern Syria on Monday said that his country has always supported the Kurds.
The three-day event was organized by the Rojava Strategic Research Center (NRLS) and attended by over 200 people, including experts from different countries.
Dr. Sa’ad Bin Omer, the head of the Arabic Century Center for Research in Riyadh, told Kurdistan 24 that Saudi Arabia has always supported the Kurdish people and other communities in the region.
Omer did not come in an official capacity, but did join a NRLS panel to give a presentation on the Islamic State.
“Saudi Arabia has provided humanitarian assistance in this safe region. I can see that Saudi Arabia has taken into consideration to help the people during the time of ISIS’ emergence and after its defeat,” he told Kurdistan 24.
“I do not believe that Saudi Arabia will cut its support for the communities who have suffered; it will continue directly or through the UN institutions.”
Saudi Arabia seems to have become more interested in the Kurdish issue as a result of its worsening relations with Turkey over to the latter’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood during the Arab Spring.
Turkey also backed Qatar during the Saudi-Qatar crisis of 2017. That same year, Thamer al-Sabhan, the Saudi Minister of State for Middle Eastern Affairs, visited the northeast of Syria for the first time.
On June 13, he visited Deir al-Zor and met with Kurdish and US officials as well as Arab tribal leaders.
Last year, Saudi Arabia contributed 100 million USD for US-led stabilization projects in the northeast of Syria, which is currently controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
Bin Omer confirmed that Saudi Arabia has been directly assisted in a financial way.
“There is a direct support for the IDPs coming from Saudi Arabia. It is our duty to help these people at this time, as they are living in camps,” he explained, adding that humanitarian assistance through Saudi organizations would continue to receive support from Riyadh.
In addition to humanitarian aid, the SDF has also called on the international community to support the establishment of an international tribunal.
Bin Omer, however, noted that such a proposal should be further studied by Saudi Arabia and the international community before moving forward.
The doctor also failed to mention or confirm reports of Saudi Arabia being willing to send forces to the northeast of Syria to contribute to a safe zone on the Syrian-Turkish border.
Editing by Nadia Riva