2000 Syrian moderate rebels to be trained by U.S. in Turkey


Syrian rebel fighters prepare to launch an anti-tank missile towards forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad in Maaret al-Naaman village, in Idlib. (Reuters)

ARA News

The United States and Turkey have agreed a plan under which some 2,000 fighters from the moderate Syrian opposition would be trained on Turkish soil, a report said Saturday.

The rebel fighters of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) will be trained at the Kirsehir base some 150 kilometers (90 miles) south of the capital Ankara by both Turkish and U.S. personnel starting from late December, Hurriet Daily News reported, quoting unnamed officials.

The United States will provide weapons for the fighters and is also expected to pay for the training, the English-language daily said.

The agreement was reached after a third round of talks between Turkish and US military officials in Ankara, according to the daily.

However, the officials have not reached an agreement on the training of Syrian Kurdish fighters of the Popular Protection Units (YPG), who are leading the battle against Islamic State extremists for the border city of Kobane.

The United States is due to train these fighters in Iraq’s Kurdish region, it said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has insisted that the YPG fighters (linked to the Democratic Union Party) are part of a “terror group” allied to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) that has fought Turkish security forces in a three-decade insurgency for Kurdish self-rule.


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