The United States is planning to deploy 400 troops to the Middle East in order to train “moderate” Syrian rebels, Anadolu has reported. The news was revealed by officials from the US Department of Defence in the Pentagon who, Associated Press noted, said that this figure might rise to 1,000 in due course.
The military instructors and support personnel will go to Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar to conduct the training, which is expected to begin in early spring, according to Pentagon spokeswoman Elissa Smith. “This number could fluctuate based on course load, course requirements and other variables,” she pointed out in an emailed statement.
Last year, the US announced the launch of a programme to train and arm the Syrian opposition in order to enable it to defeat ISIS. Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey announced that they were ready to host the training. America is expected to train 5,000 fighters from the moderate Syrian opposition groups, with the aim of being ready to take the field within a year.
The Pentagon has allocated $5 billion to this programme as part of the $64 billion Defence Department budget approved by Congress at the end of last year.