Saudi Arabia said on Thursday it would continue to assist Iraqi forces fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), despite Washington’s decision to pull out of the country’s coalition against the jihadist group.
In a statement, the kingdom said the US decision to leave the coalition, which includes Arab countries, would not affect the cooperation between Riyadh and Baghdad, but it was “an important step” for the region.
“We will continue the fight against ISIL and we will continue cooperation with the coalition partners and countries,” the statement said.
“We are confident that the coalition will succeed in defeating ISIL and that we will be a force to be reckoned with.”US President Donald Trump announced last week that the United States would stop contributing to the coalition against ISIL after he ordered the Pentagon to end military support to the group.
He said on Twitter that “our military is no longer contributing to a coalition that is killing and destroying innocent people all over the world.”
The coalition is a US-led military coalition formed in 2015 to combat ISIL, but Washington has maintained it is only a partner in the fight.
The coalition has been criticized for allowing the extremist group to grow in strength.