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US to provide support for Syrian opposition in Daesh fight

Gen. John Allen says US will train, equip and protect opposition fighters.

03.03.2015
US to provide support for Syrian opposition in Daesh fight

By M. Bilal Kenasarl

WASHINGTON 

The United States said Monday that it will protect Syrian opposition fighters once they are trained and begin fighting against the Daesh terror group, also known as ISIL.

Gen. John Allen, who coordinates U.S. coalition efforts against Daesh, said when the 2015 training of 5,000 fighters is complete, and a total of roughly 15,000 during the next three years, the U.S. will provide air strike support.

“Not only we will train them, we will equip them with the latest weapons systems, but we will also protect them when the time comes," said Allen, who spoke at the Atlantic Council, a Washington think tank.

Allen said he is “surprised at the numbers” of Syrian opposition fighters who are willing to fight against Daesh.

Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have agreed on a training program for the opposition with the program in Turkey set to being in about month.

“I won’t put a date certain on when the training will begin, but our assessment is that we could be ready sometime within the next four to six weeks to begin actual training,” Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said Friday.

About 1,500 Syrian rebels have been screened and as many as 5,500 Syrians will be trained after about one year, Kirby said.

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