US military downsizing in Middle East won’t affect Saudi air defense, Saudi spokesperson says

The statement came following reports indicating that the United States started to reduce its military presence in the region, had come to surface.

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The spokesperson of the Saudi-led Arab Coalition, which fights with the Iranian-backed Houthi group in Yemen, Colonel Turki Al Maliki, stated that the reduction in numbers of US military equipment in the Middle East would not affect the defense capabilities of Saudi Arabia.

The statement came following the announcement issued by Washington on Friday that the number of troops and air defense units located in the Middle East started to be cut. According to the statement, the downsizing includes Patriot batteries and an anti-missile system, called THAAD, deployed to Saudi Arabia, as well.

Speaking with reporters, Spokesperson Al Maliki said, “We have a strong understanding with our allies about the threat in the region. We do have the capability to defend our country.”

While the US is reducing its military presence in the region, some speculations have been circulating, claiming that Greece would be the country that could provide the necessary equipment to the Kingdom for its air defense system.

It was reported in April that Greece offered to lend a Patriot battery to Saudi Arabia to make the Kingdom capable of defending its critical energy infrastructures against the ongoing airstrikes carried out by the Iran-supported Houthi group from Yemen.

Earlier on Monday, Coalition officials announced that Saudi air defenses intercepted 21 airstrikes carried by Houthi group from Yemen through bomb-laden drones and ballistic missiles. According to the statement issued by the Coalition, airstrikes aimed at Khamis Mushait, the southwestern city of Saudi Arabia, and Abha International Airport.

The Houthi military offensive targeting Saudi territory came amid the diplomatic efforts brokered by the UN and supported by the US, have intensified to establish a nationwide ceasefire in the war-devastated country.

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