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'Saudis now ready to sent troops to Syria'.

SAUDI Arabia is ready to send ground troops to Syria to fight Islamic State, provided coalition leaders agree during an upcoming meeting in Brussels, a Saudi military spokesman has said.

Brigadier General Ahmed Asiri said Saudi Arabia has taken part in coalition air strikes against IS since the US-led campaign began in September 2014, but would now provide ground troops. The US is scheduled to convene a meeting of defence ministers from countries fighting IS in Brussels this month.

"We are determined to fight and defeat Daesh," Brig Gen Asiri said, using the Arabic acronym for IS.

He did not elaborate on how many troops the kingdom would send.

Saudi Arabia is deeply involved in Yemen's civil war, where it is fighting Iranian-backed Shiite rebels. Meanwhile, international leaders have pledged more than PS7bn to tackle the Syrian refugee crisis, David Cameron has announced.

Some PS4.1bn has been pledged this year at a donor conference being held in London and a further PS3.4bn will be handed over by 2020, the Prime Minister said.

Britain is donating an extra PS510m, taking the total funding from the UK to PS2.3bn.

Countries neighbouring Syria have also agreed to educate refugee children to ensure there is no "lost generation", Mr Cameron said.

Mr Cameron said the money raised would "save lives, will give hope, will give people the chance of a future".

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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:7SYRI
Date:Feb 5, 2016
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