Fri Feb 19, 2016 06:44PM
Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir (file photo)
Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir (file photo)

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister says the militants wreaking havoc in Syria should be equipped with surface-to-air missiles.

Arming militants with the missiles would “enable … [them] to neutralize the [Syrian] helicopters and planes,” German weekly Der Spiegel quoted Adel al-Jubeir as saying.

In an interview published online on Friday, Jubeir expressed Riyadh’s support for regime change in Syria.

Syrian government forces have been fighting foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. Several regional countries, namely Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar, have been aiding the militants operating against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

In recent months, Syrian forces have gained huge victories in the battle against terrorists across the country.

Syrian government forces have been receiving air cover from Russia since September 2015. The Russian campaign was launched upon a request from Damascus.

This AFP photo displays a general view of Russian fighter jets on the tarmac at the Russian Hmeimim military base in Latakia Province, northwestern Syria, on February 16, 2016.

Since September 2014, the US and its allies in the so-called anti-Daesh campaign have also been conducting airstrikes against purported positions of Daesh, without any authorization from Damascus or the UN. Many have questioned the effectiveness of the strikes.

According to a new report by the Syrian Center for Policy Research, the turmoil in Syria has claimed the lives of about half a million people.