Manama: Troops from Oman, Egypt and Kuwait and several other countries have arrived in Saudi Arabia to take part in the largest military exercise in the region, in terms of participating countries and equipment.
At least 20 countries from Arab and Islamic countries are scheduled to participate in the North Thunder war games in the northern region of the kingdom, Saudi reports said on Monday.
The participating countries are Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Jordan, Senegal, Sudan, Maldives, Morocco, Pakistan, Chad, Tunisia, Comoro Islands, Djibouti, Malaysia, Egypt, Mauritania, and Mauritius.
The equipment that reflects the quantitative and qualitative weapons the forces will be using will include fighter jets of different models, a wide range of artillery, tanks, infantry, air defence systems, and naval forces.
The official Twitter account for North Thunder said the exercises were being held at King Khalid Military City in Hafr Al Batin from February 14 until March 10.
“A military exercise will be commanded by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with the participation of 20 countries and the Peninsula Shield force as well,” the account said. “The main objective is to demonstrate the high combat readiness of the participating armed forces and their readiness and ability to function successfully in joint operations,” the account said.
More than 200,000 people started following the account hours after it was launched to cover the military exercises.
The Peninsula Shield is the military arm of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the alliance that comprises Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
The exercise will be a clear message that Saudi Arabia and its allies “stand united in confronting all challenges and preserving peace and stability in the region”, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
The manoeuvres are taking place months after Saudi Arabia formed a coalition of 35 Arab and Muslim countries to fight terrorism and “push back and confront the terrorists and those who promote their violent ideologies.”
Last week, Saudi Arabia sent aircraft to Incirlik airbase in Turkey to assist in the fight against terrorists from the terror Daesh group in Syria.