Officials: US, Turkey could begin training Syrian opposition as soon as March

February 18, 2015 05:47

The United States and Turkey have reached a tentative agreement to train and equip moderate Syrian opposition fighters and expect to sign the pact soon, US and Turkish officials said on Tuesday with Ankara predicting a signing in days.

The US military has said it is planning to send more than 400 troops, including special operations forces, to train Syrian moderates at sites outside Syria as part of the fight against the Islamic State.

Three US officials, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said the training could begin in mid-March.

The vetted Syrian fighters would be equipped with items including pickup trucks with mounted machine guns, radios and global positioning system trackers, the officials said.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that the radios and GPS equipment would enable the fighters to call in airstrikes, but the officials told Reuters no authority had yet been granted for them to do so.

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