Turkey, U.S. agree on plan to train 2,000 moderate Syrian rebels: report

A Free Syrian Army fighter prepares a locally-made shell before firing it towards forces loyal to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad in Bani Zeid neighbourhood, Aleppo.

A Free Syrian Army fighter prepares a locally-made shell before firing it towards forces loyal to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad in Bani Zeid neighbourhood, Aleppo.

Turkey and the United States have agreed a plan under which some 2,000 fighters from the moderate Syrian opposition would be trained on Turkish soil, a report said Saturday.

The fighters from the Free Syrian Army (FSA) will be trained at the Kirsehir base some 150 kilometers (90 miles) south of the capital Ankara by both Turkish and U.S. personnel starting from late December, Hurriet Daily News reported, quoting unnamed officials.

The United States will provide weapons for the fighters and is also expected to pay for the training, the English-language daily said.

The agreement was reached after a third round of talks between Turkish and US military officials in Ankara, the daily said.

The officials did not, however, reach an agreement on the training of Syrian Kurd fighters from the Democratic Union Party (PYD), who are leading the battle against Islamic State jihadists for the key border town of Kobane, the paper said.

The United States is due to train these fighters in Iraq’s Kurdish region, it said.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has insisted that the PYD fighters are part of a “terror group” allied to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) who have fought Turkish security forces in a three-decade insurgency for Kurdish self-rule.

 
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