Middle East

Turkey, US plan to train 2,000 militants fighting Syria govt.

Turkey and the US have agreed to train some 2,000 militants fighting against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a report says.

According to a Saturday report by Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News, under a plan between the two governments, militants from the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA) will be trained at the Kirsehir base, some 150 kilometers (90 miles) south of the capital, Ankara.

Both Turkish and American personnel are to undertake the training program which starts in late December 2014.

Washington will supply weapons for the militants and is also expected to pay for the training, the English-language daily said, adding that the deal was clinched after a third round of negotiations between Turkish and US military officials in Ankara.

The officials, however, failed to agree on the training of Syrian Kurd fighters from the Democratic Union Party (PYD), who are leading the fight against ISIL Takfiri militants for the border town of Kobani.

The US is slated to train these forces in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, the report said.

Syria has been gripped by deadly violence since 2011. Western powers and their regional allies — especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey — are reportedly supporting the militants operating in Syria.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein has said that more than 200,000 people have died in the Syrian conflict since March 2011.

The US and its allies started their air campaign in Syria in September under pretext of targeting ISIL militants. However, they have also hit Syrian infrastructure including oil and gas facilities and attacked the provinces where ISIL militants are not active.


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