Armed forces and military personnel from over 20 countries converged in Saudi Arabia on Sunday for what is the largest military exercise campaign in the region’s history.

Dubbed “The Thunder of the North” the exercise includes ground, air, and naval drills and is generally seen as a showcase of the Saudi Arabia’s weight in the region and according to SPA, a Saudi State news agency reported it to be the “largest, most important military maneuver ever staged in the Gulf region”.

It was not stated when the military exercise will begin or for how long it will take place, but Saudi Arabia also announced that it will intensify efforts in Syria as part of its ongoing operations against the Islamic State Group.

It can be recalled that Saudi Arabia is currently spear heading a campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen.

SPA announced that up to 20 countries will be involved in the military, these are the other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, and other countries such as Chad, Jordan, Senegal, Pakistan, Tunisia, Malaysia, Morocco, and Egypt.

In December 2015, Saudi Arabia also announced the formation of a 35 member state military coalition with the stated goal of “fighting terrorism” in Islamic countries. According a Saudi Source, members of this “Anti-Terrorism” coalition will meet in Saudi Arabia in its first public meeting next month. The stated goals of the alliance are to combat extremist ideology, share intelligence and engage in ground operations if necessary.

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