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Turkey, U.S. to Finalize Syrian Rebel Training This Month: Official

Free Syrian Army fighters take cover as they enter a Syrian Army base to take part in an attack in Damascus in this February 3, 2013 file photo.  The infantry skirmish for control of the barracks involved teams of fighters, their colourful headscarves at odds with grim faces and attempts at camouflage, stealing up to a two-metre perimeter wall that stretched for hundreds of metres around. They poured sustained rifle fire through gaps in the wall, tossed grenades over and did what they could to avoid incoming rounds.   REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic/Files (SYRIA - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS CONFLICT)  ATTENTION EDITORS PICTURE 17 OF 20 FOR PACKAGE 'BLOODY STALEMATE IN DAMASCUS' SEARCH 'GORAN STALEMATE' FOR ALL IMAGES
Free Syrian Army fighters take cover as they enter a Syrian Army base to take part in an attack in Damascus in this February 3, 2013 file photo. (REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic/Files)

 

ANKARA, Turkey (Reuters)—Turkey and the United States aim to finalize an agreement on equipping and training moderate Syrian rebels this month, a senior foreign ministry official said on Monday, part of the U.S.-led campaign to battle Islamic State militants.

The training is expected to start in March, simultaneously with similar programs in Jordan and Saudi Arabia, the Turkish official said. The aim is to train 15,000 Syrian rebels over three years.

“Around 1,500 to 2,000 people are expected to be trained inTurkey (in the first year),” the official said, adding that a “limited number” of U.S. soldiers would come to Turkey to help carry out the training jointly with Turkish colleagues.

 

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