Saudis conduct military exercises with 20 states

'Thunder of the North' exercise aims to bolster ground, air and naval coordination against threat of "terrorist groups".

    Saudi Arabia formed a new 35-member alliance last December to fight "terrorism" in Islamic countries [File: Faisal Al Nasser/Reuters]
    Saudi Arabia formed a new 35-member alliance last December to fight "terrorism" in Islamic countries [File: Faisal Al Nasser/Reuters]

    Armed forces from 20 countries have begun manoeuvres in northeastern Saudi Arabia that the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) has described as one of the world's biggest military exercises.

    Troops from Pakistan, Malaysia, Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan and Sudan are among those participating in the "Thunder of the North" exercise, which began on Saturday and involves ground, air and naval forces, SPA reported.

    Forces from the other five Gulf Arab states are also taking part in "one of the world's most important military exercises based on the number of forces participating and the area of territory used," the news agency added.

    It said a major goal of the exercise was to improve training in responding to the threat posed by "terrorist groups".

    Saudi Arabia has carried out air strikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria as part of a US-led coalition fighting the group.

    Last December, it also formed a new 35-member alliance to fight "terrorism" in Islamic countries.

    Since March last year, it has been leading a military campaign against Iran-backed rebels in its southern neighbour Yemen.

    SOURCE: AFP


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    From Qatar to Alaska, a personal journey exploring what it means to belong when your culture is endangered.