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Rudaw

Syria

US, regional allies to begin training moderate Syrian rebels

By Yerevan Saeed 7/1/2015
Syrian rebels have been fighting regime forces since the start of the civil war in 2011.  AFP photo.
Syrian rebels have been fighting regime forces since the start of the civil war in 2011. AFP photo.

WASHINGTON DC - The United States expects to start training moderate Syrian rebels early this spring in coordination with Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia to fight the Islamic State (ISIS), the Pentagon told reporters on Tuesday.

“What I can tell you is that we continue to coordinate and plan joint efforts for training and equipping for moderate Syrian opposition forces with Turkey,” said Rear Admiral John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary.

“No training has started yet,” he said, adding that Qatar and Saudi Arabia were also on board to provide training facilities.

Meanwhile, Reuters cited the Turkish foreign ministry as saying that Ankara and Washington are close to cutting a deal on the training program. The United States and Turkey have failed to reach a mechanism to aid Syrian rebels because Turkey has demanded the creation of a no-fly zone inside Syria, which Washington has rejected.  

“I think that the statement you saw come out of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday is a good sign, a positive sign that things are moving in the right direction with respect to getting this train-and-equip program up -- up and running,” Kirby explained.

According to the Pentagon official, the US has been active in the process of recruiting Syrians, with Maj. Gen. Michael Nagata, commander of US special operations forces in the Middle East talking to moderate Syrian forces.

“We're also working very closely with our interagency partners and some foreign partners to identify potential recruits,” Kirby said. “That process is very active right now,” he added, explaining that Nagata and his team are talking to opposition groups to help choose recruits.

Kirby predicted that the training would start in the next several months: “I think, if we continue to make the progress that we're making now, that we believe we could start conducting some training of moderate opposition by early spring.”

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Opinion | 7/1/2015
Stop supporting anti-Syria terrorism! There is no "civil war" in Syria, there is only terrorism supported by outside countries including the USA. This is the root cause of ISIS.
Riha | 7/1/2015
Moderate rebels, hahaha what a joke. In other words they are gonna unleash more ISIS fighters in Syria. Kurds watch out. Americans are as always playing a double game. Pray to God that Russia will not let that happen.
bain | 7/1/2015
"moderate syrian rebels" HaHaHaHaHaHa.....
German-American | 7/1/2015
Idiots! There are no moderate Syrian rebels. As an American, the Americans should only train and aid Kurds.
Moderate bastard | 7/1/2015
Hhahahaha "moderate" such a funny name. Train and arm kurds instead you idiots! There are no moderate arabs/muslims. Did you see what happened in Paris the other day? Those are the moderates that did that, imagine what the non-moderate bastards will do!
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