US to begin training Syrian rebels in March

The the plan includes 5,000 fighters who will be trained annually.

US to begin training Syrian rebels in March

World Bulletin/News Desk

The training of moderate Syrian forces to fight against ISIL will begin next March, a U.S. official said Thursday.

Brett H. McGurk, a deputy envoy to the U.S.-led anti-ISIL coalition, testified before the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee that just 5,000 fighters will be trained annually “because of the vetting standards and that we're being careful about this. But we're not sitting on our hands.”

When asked what was happening right now in Syria and the strategic plan for the country, McGurk said training moderate forces is just a small part of the overall U.S. strategy to combat ISIL but supporting the Iraqi government against the group is also important.

“This is a multiyear campaign. Phase one is Iraq. What we’re doing in Syria right now is degrading ISIS' capacity.” he said, referring to an alternative name for the terror group.

"Efforts to halt ISIL's advance have been successful, but the rollback phase will be longer, and progress is likely to be uneven," McGurk said.

ISIL has captured large swathes of land in Iraq and Syria, declaring what it calls a cross-border Islamic caliphate while killing thousands of civilians and displacing many more in the two countries.

In September, Congress temporarily authorized President Barack Obama’s plan to arm, equip and train moderate Syrian rebels to fight against ISIL in Syria.

The U.S. and partner nations have carried out more than 1,200 airstrikes against ISIL in Iraq and Syria since operations began in August, according to official statistics.

More than 200,000 people have died in Syria’s civil war and half the population has been displaced.  

 

Last Mod: 12 Aralık 2014, 13:19
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