Saudi Arabia has threatened to use military force against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad if ongoing political talks fail to bring peace to the conflict-stricken nation.
Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir made the announcement following an International Syria Support Group (ISSG) meeting held in Vienna on Tuesday.
“We believe we should have moved to a ‘Plan B’ a long time ago,” he added.”The choice about moving to an alternative plan, the choice about intensifying the military support (to the opposition) is entirely with the Bashar regime.”
The Saudis are among the most aggressive supporters of removing Assad from power and are the staunchest backers of militant groups trying to overthrow the Syrian government.
“If they do not respond to the treaties of the international community… then we will have to see what else can be done,” he added.
The latest round of UN-brokered indirect talks, which began in Geneva, Switzerland, on April 13, were brought to a halt after the Saudi-backed main opposition group, the High Negotiation Committee (HNC), walked out of the discussions and declared a “new war” against the Syrian government.
The 17-nation ISSG talks were aimed at discussing the stalled negotiations, challenges in maintaining a shaky February ceasefire, and the delivery of UN humanitarian aid to various areas across the war-ravaged country.
Following the Tuesday talks, the ISSG released a statement calling on the international community to prevent any material or financial support from reaching Daesh and Nusra Front and dissuade any party to the truce from cooperating with the terrorists.
UN special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura estimates that over 400,000 people have been killed in the conflict, which has also displaced over half of the Arab country’s pre-war population of about 23 million.