Saudi Arabia's King Salman called on the world at the G-20 summit Monday to "rid the world of its evil" in the fight against terror, the Saudi channel Al Arabiya reported Monday. The monarch proposed the creation of a United Nations-sponsored organization to combat terror, and has reportedly already donated some $110 million for it. He called on other nations to contribute to the center, which would serve as an international intelligence hub for information and research on terrorism.
The G-20 summit in the Turkish coastal town of Antalya was intended to focus on international economic cooperation, but has been overshadowed by the coordinated string of attacks in Paris Friday that killed 129 people. Turkey has also faced a massive refugee crisis, with some 2 million Syrian refugees now living in the country. Salman, as well as other regional leaders, called on the global community to work toward solving the Syrian crisis.
Saudi Arabia is considered a key ally for the United States in the region, particularly as the U.S.-led campaign has intensified against the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS, in recent weeks. The country has itself been the site of several terrorist attacks by ISIS sympathizers, and the government has sought to crack down on domestic support for the group.
“It is certain that addressing the problem radically requires finding a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis and standing by the Syrian people's right to live in dignity in their homeland," Salman said Friday, according to Al Arabiya. "The suffering of this people is exacerbated by the inaction of the international community to find a solution.”
Saudi Arabia has been a strong backer of various rebel groups fighting against both the Assad regime and ISIS, like Jaysh al-Islam. Some have called on the kingdom to drop its support for those groups, particularly as the campaign has increasingly focused on rolling back ISIS. Saudi Arabia has indicated that it was willing to find a negotiated solution to the conflict, but has said support for anti-regime rebels will continue as long as dictator Bashar Assad is allowed to remain in power.
Some 250,000 people have been killed in Syria and millions of people have been displaced. Human rights groups accuse Assad of being responsible for most of those casualties, though thousands have also been killed by ISIS and other Sunni extremist groups.