US to deploy 400 troops to train Syrian rebels

2015-01-16 10:17
(US Army, Staff Sergeant Michael Behlin, AFP

(US Army, Staff Sergeant Michael Behlin, AFP

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington - The US military is planning to deploy more than 400 troops to help train Syrian rebels to fight ISIS, along with hundreds of US support personnel, a Pentagon spokesperson told Reuters on Thursday.

The US military has not yet identified where it will draw its forces from for the training mission, expected to begin in the spring at sites outside Syria, colonel Steve Warren said. Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have offered to host the training.

Warren did not offer additional details on the troop figures, first reported by Defence One website.

The training programme is a part of President Barack Obama's multi-year plan to field local forces in Syria to halt and eventually roll back ISIS fighters, while pounding them with US-led airstrikes.

The Pentagon has estimated that it can train more than 5 000 recruits in the first year and that up to 15 000 will be needed to retake areas of eastern Syria controlled by ISIS.

Critics in Congress have said the Pentagon program won't aid Syrian opposition forces fast enough, however, and question whether it is too small to influence the course of Syria's multi-pronged civil war between President Bashar Assad and his opponents.

Across the border in Iraq, Obama has authorized more than 3 000 US troops to advise and train Iraqi and Kurdish forces.

The disclosure of the planned troop deployments for the Syria training mission came just days after senior US officials met Syrian opposition and civil society leaders in Istanbul to discuss the programme.

US major general Michael Nagata, combined joint interagency task force - Syria Director, and US special envoy for Syria Daniel Rubinstein led the meeting on the US side.

"These introductory meetings were an important step as we prepare to launch the train-and-equip program later this spring with our international partners," said Pentagon spokesperson commander Elissa Smith.

Read more on:    isis  |  us  |  syria  |  war  |  security
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.