Gulf | Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia warns citizens against Syria jihad

Has information about presence of Saudi fighters in Syria, but does not know how many

  • Gulf News Report
  • Published: 15:15 March 25, 2013
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Reuters
  • Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry spokesman Mansour Turki at a news conference in Riyadh on Sunday.

Dubai: Saudis fighting the regime of Bashar Al Assad in Syria will be detained immediately upon their return to the Kingdom, a Saudi interior ministry official has said.

In comments published by Saudi media, Major General Mansour Turki, spokesman at the Saudi interior ministry, said participation in the fighting in Syria is in violation of Saudi laws, and that anyone who is proven to be intending to travel to Syria to join the fight against the regime there will be investigated and barred from travelling, adding that some who had been involved with Al Qaida in foreign countries may be heading to Syria or elsewhere to wage war.

The warning follows recent reports in the Saudi press about deaths of Saudi fighters in Syria. International news outlets have reported that hundreds of Saudi youths have entered Syria via Turkey and Jordan to fight.

Turki said that Saudi Arabia has information about the presence of “some Saudi citizens” in Syria, but did not know their numbers, as quoted by Saudi media.

Asked about Iran’s denial of association with an alleged ring of spies uncovered in Saudi Arabia last Wednesday, Turki said that Saudi Arabia did not name the country the spy ring had been working on behalf of, “so the question should be directed to Iran as to why it volunteered to issue a denial”, he said, as quoted by Al Watan newspaper.

Turki said that Saudi Arabia did not name the country because it needed “hard evidence” to do so. “We cannot ask a state to stop conspiring against us... announcing the name will not stop this conspiracy,” he said. He added that Saudi Arabia does not point fingers hastily or arbitrarily and only does so after conducting an investigation.

The kingdom, he added, prefers to deal with such issues diplomatically. He added that the results of the investigation will be revealed as soon as it concludes. Saudi Arabia alleged that the spy ring consisting of Saudis, Iranians and Lebanese, had been gathering intelligence.

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