Report: Pentagon Plans Combat Training for Syrian Rebels

TIME

The Pentagon has drawn up plans to train a small group of Syrian rebels opposed to the regime of President Bashar Assad in an effort to influence the bloody civil war that has engulfed the country since 2011, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Citing anonymous sources, the Journal reported that defense officials told key congressional committees at closed-door briefings last week that preliminary military estimates call for training a 2,300-man force over an 18-month period.

The fighters would be vetted to ensure they are ideological moderates and not Islamic extremists, who have flocked to the country to fight against Assad’s Shi’ite-aligned forces.

The training would not begin until next year and would require congressional approval.

The plan, which would cost up to $500 million, would also provide military equipment to a pool of additional fighters. Training could be completed in Saudi Arabia, The United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Turkey, or Jordan…

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