Saudi envoy to Iraq repeats call for militants to surrender

The ambassasdor said the call on fighters to hand themselves has been on for years. (Al Arabiya file)

Saudi ambassador to Iraq Thamer al-Sabhan told Al-Arabiya News that calls for Saudis involved in the fighting alongside extremist groups in Iraq - such as the ISIS and al-Nusra Front - to hand themselves over, is still on.

He added that if these fighters hand themselves over, this will be taken into consideration during litigation and trials.

Sabhan's statements come after Iraqi forces launched operations to liberate ISIS-controlled areas, such as the city of Diyala and Ramadi, a city in the Sunni-majority Anbar province, and after ISIS fighters fled and were besieged after cutting supplies to them and their families.

"The call (on these fighters to hand themselves) has been on for years. Saudi Arabia treats those who hand themselves over differently than those arrested, and it takes this into consideration during trials. Saudi Arabia opens its arms to whomever desires to return home and the Saudi embassy in Iraq offers all its services to receive them, get them out of conflict zones and free them of ISIS' grip," the envoy said.

Sabhan who is currently in Iraq with his diplomatic team also said so far they have not received any requests neither via direct communication with those who desire to return home nor via the Iraqi government.

He added that ISIS prevented fighters from handing themselves over by killing them.

Regarding Iraq's decision to participate in the Islamic military alliance which the Saudi kingdom recently formed, Sabhan said the issue has not yet been discussed with the Iraqi relevant authorities via the embassy.

"We know well that the Iraqis have suffered from terrorism for years. Hopefully, we cooperate with Iraq in the field of combating terrorism."

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Last Update: 11:53 KSA 14:53 - GMT 11:53
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